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Justices to review teacher’s explicit messages to student

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A Starke County teacher who was charged with sending sexually explicit Facebook messages to a 16-year-old student will have to face the Indiana Supreme Court, which will review the Court of Appeals’ order to dismiss the counts.

Robert Corbin was charged with two counts of attempted child seduction that were dismissed on appeal by the COA. Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel in Robert Corbin v. State of Indiana, 75S03-1401-CR-13, that while Corbin’s behavior toward the student was “deplorable and immoral,” he had not taken the substantial step toward the crime that the statute requires.

Corbin was a teacher and swim coach at Knox High School in northwest Indiana when he sent messages of a sexual nature to the student. A relative discovered the messages and alerted police, who interviewed Corbin. He was charged with two Class D felonies under I.C. 35-41-5-1, 35-42-4-7(k)(1) and 35-42-4-7(k)(2)(A)(ii).

The trial court refused to dismiss the charges in which authorities said Corbin took the substantial step toward the crime by asking the student to sneak out of her house, after which he would pick her up.

Relying on Ward v. State, 528 N.E.2d 52, 55 (Ind. 1988), Mathias wrote, “we are constrained to conclude that Corbin’s Internet-based solicitations ...  did not constitute a substantial step toward the crime of child seduction.”

The Corbin case was one of three granted transfer for the week ending Jan. 10.

Justices also agreed to grant transfer to an appeal in a case where a juror who admitted bias was not struck by the court, and a defense attorney chose not to send the potential juror home with a final peremptory strike.

In Gary Wayne Oswalt v. State of Indiana, 35S02-1401-CR-10, Gary Wayne Oswalt appeals his convictions and 84-year sentence on two charges of Class A felony child molesting, five Class D felony counts of possession of child pornography and Class D felony child seduction.

The court also agreed to hear an appeal of a not-for-publication opinion, Curtis F. Sample, Jr. v. State of Indiana, 45S03-1401-CR-11. Curtis Sample’s convictions of Class A felony attempted murder and Class B felony criminal confinement were previously affirmed by the high court, but his habitual offender finding was remanded for a new hearing.

Sample again was found to be a habitual offender, affirmed by the appeals court which found the trial court didn’t commit reversible error when it allowed prosecution witnesses to testify that a victim of two predicate offenses was mentally infirm.  

The Supreme Court also denied 24 transfer requests. The court transfer disposition list may be viewed here.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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