Judges differ in interpretation of earlier ruling

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A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed today as to whether a man's convictions of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor and attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors should be reversed because his intended victim was actually a police officer conducting an online sting operation.

In Randy Gibbs v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0712-CR-1017, the majority determined in light of Alpin v. State, 889 N.E.2d 882 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), two of Randy Gibbs' convictions should be overturned. Gibbs had communicated over the Internet with someone that he believed to be a 15-year-old girl, had graphic sexual conversations with her, sent her illicit pictures, and then arranged to meet her at an apartment complex. Gibbs was arrested at the apartment complex and had brought rope and condoms with him.

The majority affirmed his conviction of child solicitation, but reversed his other two convictions based on the wording of the statutes for those crimes. The majority disagreed with the state's argument that Alpin was decided incorrectly, noting that it had to be decided correctly since the Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer. Citing Alpin, the majority noted that to be convicted of child solicitation, a person has to "believe" the victim is a child whereas to be convicted of sexual misconduct with a child requires the victim to be a child.

As a result of the ruling in Alpin, the majority in the instant case concluded that attempted sexual misconduct with a minor also requires the intended victim be a child. They noted that if the General Assembly wanted to penalize defendants for attempting to commit the offense when the victim is actually an adult the defendant believed to be a minor, it could have chosen similar language as used in the child solicitation statute, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

Judge Melissa May dissented, finding the attempt statute to be applicable in this case, which provides that impossibility is not a defense. Gibbs intended to have sex with a minor and did all he could to complete the offense, but failed because it wasn't possible under the circumstances since he was part of an online sting operation, wrote the judge. Judge May doesn't believe the General Assembly would have intended to prevent prosecution under the sexual misconduct with a minor statute when the defendant erroneously believed the victim was a minor. She would affirm Gibbs' convictions, finding sufficient facts to support each of them.

Judge May also noted that the Supreme Court's denial of transfer has no precedential value or legal effect other than to terminate the litigation between the parties and doesn't imply the high court's agreement with the Court of Appeals in a ruling.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.