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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. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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