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Judges uphold molestation convictions

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions of child molesting because it agreed the victim's recantation of the allegations weren't worthy of credit.

In Mario Martinez v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0905-CR-289, Mario Martinez argued the trial court should have granted his motion to correct error and ordered a new trial after W.M., his 12-year-old victim and niece, recanted her story that Martinez molested her several years earlier.

W.M. first reported the molestation when she was 10 years old to facilitators of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Body Safety Program. She later told the same story to a child forensic officer at IMPD and while on the stand at Martinez's trial. After he was convicted of one count of Class A felony child molesting and two counts of Class C felony child molesting, W.M., by private counsel, filed a motion to intervene and set aside the jury verdict. She gave a deposition to her attorney that Martinez hadn't molested her and she made it up because she was mad at him for hitting her a few years earlier. Neither the state nor Martinez's counsel were notified or present during the deposition.

As a result of the deposition, Martinez filed a motion to correct error because the recantation was newly discovered evidence that warranted a new trial. The trial court denied the motion, finding the recantation wasn't worthy of credit.

On appeal, Martinez argued the state is required to designate new evidence in the form of affidavits to counter W.M.'s recantation; the state had designated W.M.'s pretrial interview and pretrial deposition, which is sufficient to counter her post-trial version of events, wrote Chief Judge John Baker.

Just as in Best v. State, 418 N.E.2d 316, 319 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992), the trial court was correct to deny Martinez's motion for a new trial. W.M.'s recantation first occurred in a private deposition outside of the presence of anyone representing the state, wrote the chief judge. Her story was consistent until after her uncle was convicted and she overheard her parents say he could be sentenced to 50 years in prison. It was also possible W.M. recanted her story due to her mother's fears her marriage would fall apart because of the conviction and her mother was being ostracized in her community.

Under these circumstances, the appellate court can't say the trial court abused its discretion by finding W.M.'s recantation wasn't worthy of credit and denying Martinez's motion for a new trial.

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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