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Judges: DNA admittance was harmless error

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The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed for the first time today the admissibility of DNA evidence when a defendant can’t be excluded from a possibly infinite number of people matching the crime-scene DNA.

DNA evidence is admissible when the DNA analysis indicates a defendant’s profile is consistent with DNA found at the crime scene because that evidence has a high probative value, wrote Judge Melissa May. But the judges had to look to other jurisdictions for guidance on admitting DNA when a defendant can’t be excluded from a high number of people matching the DNA and the DNA expert can’t offer a statistical probability whether the crime-scene DNA came from the defendant.

In Quintez Deloney v. State of Indiana, No. 22A01-0906-CR-273, Quintez Deloney appealed his convictions of and sentences for Class A felony attempted robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and Class A felony burglary resulting in bodily injury. At his trial, a DNA technician testified regarding DNA collected from a red hat found at the crime scene. She said the DNA sample had DNA from two or three people and that she could neither exclude nor include Deloney from the DNA profiles.

Using the approach that requires accompanying statistical data for DNA evidence to be admissible, the judges concluded that the technician’s testimony lacked relevancy and shouldn’t have been admitted. The technician was unable to give any statistical analysis of the probability of a match, so her testimony couldn’t help the jury understand the evidence or make the existence of some fact more probable or less probable, wrote Judge May.

Admitting the DNA evidence was a harmless error, however, because there was substantial independent evidence of Deloney’s guilt.

The appellate court affirmed Deloney’s conviction of and sentence for Class A felony burglary, but vacated his conviction of Class A felony robbery to prevent double jeopardy. The judges ordered on remand that his sentence be reduced to Class C felony robbery and wrote that the trial court should consider whether it wants to shorten his sentence for burglary based on their ruling that the lower court erred by finding an aggravator in the victim’s alleged mental infirmity at the time of the crime.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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