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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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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