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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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