evidence

COA re-enters molestation conviction, rejects evidence challenge

December 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in vacating one of two convictions of Class A felony child molesting at a Dearborn County man’s sentencing, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The panel also rejected the offender’s claim evidence should not have been admitted.
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DNA evidence properly excluded in rape trial

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court was correct in not allowing evidence in a rape trial that DNA of an unknown male was collected from the victim two days after the incident, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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COA: Jury properly rejected defendant’s insanity defense

November 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because there was evidence that a defendant’s mental state at the time he stabbed his estranged wife was due to voluntary intoxication, the jury properly rejected his insanity defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Judge: Private Facebook messages fair game at arson trial

October 27, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge has declined to prevent private Facebook messages from being considered as evidence at the trial of two people charged in an Evansville marina fire.
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Detective’s testimony on drug buy inadmissible, but harmless error

October 27, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled the admission of a detective’s statement regarding a controlled drug buy should not have been admitted because it resolved the issue of the defendant’s guilt, but that admission into evidence was a harmless error.
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Boilerplate language can’t support warrant for blood draw

October 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a woman’s motion to suppress a blood sample taken after a police officer suspected her of drunken driving. The judges found the affidavit did not contain specific information alleging the woman drove a vehicle.
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New prosecutor renders defendant’s request moot

September 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant’s request to disqualify the entire LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office from his voluntary manslaughter case because several in the office viewed his conversation with his attorney recorded during a police interrogation is moot because there is a new prosecutor in office, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Court: Man participated in meth manufacturing

September 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s conviction in Whitley County for dealing in methamphetamine by manufacturing was upheld by the Court of Appeals Wednesday. There is evidence that the man knowingly or intentionally aided an acquaintance in making methamphetamine in the home the defendant shared with his girlfriend.
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Shoddy documents draws COA ire

September 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
After appearing to shrug off the need to authenticate documents, a company claiming to own the appellant’s credit card debt got a lesson in Indiana court rules and precedence.
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Admitting evidence of ‘signature’ crime was harmless error

August 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the conviction of a man who broke into a woman’s home, severely beat her and attempted to rape her. Evidence that the man looked into the window of another woman in the neighborhood 57 days later should not have been admitted at his trial, but the error was harmless in light of DNA evidence connecting the man to the crime.
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DNA proposal highlights worries over privacy

August 26, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane and his colleagues in the Indiana Statehouse are once again wrestling with when to collect genetic material from individuals in the criminal justice system.
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Indiana team that raided Fogle's home used mobile laboratory

August 24, 2015
 Associated Press
When they arrived at Jared Fogle’s home last month, law enforcement officials were armed with more than a search warrant.
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Court of Appeals affirms man’s domestic battery conviction

August 18, 2015
Dave Stafford
Evidence from a forensic nurse was not improperly admitted in the trial of a man who was convicted of felony domestic battery against his girlfriend of 20 years.
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TV’s ‘Shift’ suspect got shaft, but rights weren’t violated

August 18, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who was wrongly arrested and charged with murder by Indianapolis police whose investigation was being documented for the reality TV series “The Shift” lost his appeal in a civil rights lawsuit against police.
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Technology erases need for ‘ancient document’ rule

August 14, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A longstanding yet rarely invoked federal rule of evidence allowed the admission of an “ancient document” if it was more than 20 years old and appeared to be authentic. However, in an age when decades-old information is easily accessible electronically, a review committee has concluded the exception could be abused.
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7th Circuit divided over appeal from death row inmate

August 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A split 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an inmate on Indiana’s death row a chance for a new trial, finding the exclusion of a witness’s videotaped interview which could have possibly exonerated him was inadmissible as hearsay.
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Interim committees schedule hearings on hot-button issues

August 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana legislators are preparing to examine a proposal that would permit the collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony in the state.
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Judge’s description not impermissible judicial testimony

August 4, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Marion County judge who described the testimony to jurors as “heartfelt” did not overstep the prohibition against the judiciary acting as a witness.
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Victim’s statements were dying declaration, COA rules

July 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the victim, who was shot multiple times and eventually did die, could not have made a dying declaration because paramedics repeatedly told him he would live.
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Justices affirm molestation conviction despite vouching testimony

July 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction of Class C felony child molestation was affirmed Thursday by the Indiana Supreme Court, which held that even though improper vouching testimony was admitted in error, the defendant failed to preserve the issue for appeal.
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Trial court erred in ruling defendant waived counsel

July 30, 2015
Dave Stafford

A defendant who pleaded with a judge to try to obtain possibly exculpatory video evidence he said his public defender refused to seek did not, by his conduct, waive his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined Thursday.

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Unsupported search warrant voids drug conviction

July 24, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday threw out a man’s cocaine dealing conviction, holding that a search warrant that led to charges against him should not have been issued.
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Trial court had discretion in allowing hearsay statements into evidence

July 17, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court, which excused two young girls from testifying against their abuser at trial and instead allowed their prior statements to be admitted into evidence, did not abuse its discretion, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Examiners’ testimony about hair analysis being questioned

July 15, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The announcement earlier this year of concerns surrounding the FBI’s analysis of hair samples put forensic disciplines into the spotlight again and raised questions about reliability and validity of such evidence.
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Incomplete continuity slip gets conviction vacated

July 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Fort Wayne man’s argument that his defense strategy was upended when the government waited until mid-trial to produce a complete chain of custody document convinced the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction
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  1. OK so I'll make this as short as I can. I got a call that my daughter was smoking in the bathroom only her and one other girl was questioned mind you four others left before them anyways they proceeded to interrogate my daughter about smoking and all this time I nor my parents got a phone call,they proceeded to go through her belongings and also pretty much striped searched my daughter including from what my mother said they looked at her Brest without my consent. I am furious also a couple months ago my son hurt his foot and I was never called and it got worse during the day but the way some of the teachers have been treating my kids they are not comfortable going to them because they feel like they are mean or don't care. This is unacceptable in my mind i should be able to send my kids to school without worry but now I worry how the adults there are treating them. I have a lot more but I wanted to know do I have any attempt at a lawsuit because like I said there is more that's just some of what my kids are going through. Please respond. Sincerely concerned single parent

  2. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  3. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  4. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  5. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

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