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Judges disagree on proof-of-age issue

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Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed today about whether the state proved in its case a convicted child molester was 21 years old at the time the molestation occurred.

In Jamison C. Hudson v. State of Indiana, No. 82A04-0806-CR-355, Jamison Hudson appealed his convictions of Class A felony child molesting and Class C felony child molesting. Hudson was charged with three different specific acts of molesting his stepdaughter H.K. The trial court denied his motion in limine to exclude any evidence of sexual contact between the two for which he hadn't been charged.

In his appeal, Hudson challenged whether the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt he was at least 21 years old when he committed the child molesting, which is required to be convicted of Class A child molesting; and whether the court committed reversible error when it admitted evidence of his alleged other acts of child molesting for which he wasn't charged.

Citing Stanton v. State, 853 N.E.2d. 470, 474 (Ind. 2006), Judges Patricia Riley and Nancy Vaidik found the state failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain Hudson's conviction for Class A felony child molesting. The state failed to ask Hudson his birth date or ask specific questions of him as he testified to prove his age when he committed the crimes, wrote Judge Riley. The trial court relied on circumstantial evidence to convict him.

The facts in this case support a conviction for Class B felony child molesting, so the majority remanded to the trial court to enter his conviction as a Class B felony and sentence him accordingly.

Judge Carr Darden dissented in a separate opinion, writing the state could have avoided this current dilemma simply by asking Hudson's age when questioning him or his ex-wife. Judge Darden also wrote the court presumes a jury follows the instructions of the trial court, which would have told the jury that to convict Hudson of Class A felony child molesting, he would have to be at least 21 at the time of the act.

The judges unanimously affirmed the admission of H.K.'s testimony about a game she and Hudson would play that involved her touching his penis was a harmless error. Even though the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence of Hudson's uncharged acts of child molesting, the court wrote the probable impact of the evidence on the jury in light of other evidence, was minor and harmless.

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  1. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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