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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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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