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Man convicted of molestation was denied fair trial

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A Greene County man convicted of Class A felony child molesting is entitled to a new trial because extensive hearsay and vouching testimony was admitted in error, the Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

In Jerry L. Kindred v. State of Indiana, 28A01-1202-PC-50, Jerry Kindred appealed the denial of his request for post-conviction relief and reinstated his direct appeal to the felony conviction. Kindred was convicted of molesting his girlfriend’s granddaughter while they slept in the same bed.

Don Fish, a caseworker for Green County Child Protective Services, and Julie Martin, a sex-crimes investigator employed by the Green County Prosecutor’s Office, interviewed A.G. about her allegations that Kindred placed his finger in her vagina on several occasions. At Kindred’s trial, Martin testified about her role in charging decisions and she and Fish testified regarding what A.G. told them during the forensic interviews.

This testimony was not properly offered as course-of-investigation evidence as the state had argued, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote. The fact that Martin generally requires corroborating evidence before filing charges is irrelevant. The testimony also contained hearsay.

A.G.’s mother, grandmother, and the grandmother’s ex-husband, as well as Martin and Fish, also testified that A.G. said Kindred molested her. A.G. also testified that Kindred molested her. This was drumbeat evidence, the judges held, pointing to the length of the testimony by Martin and Fish. The jury also heard Kindred’s entire 40-minute interview with investigators at which Fish repeatedly suggested Kindred touched A.G. and A.G. was being truthful.

There was also fundamental error when A.G.’s relatives vouched for A.G.’s credibility. The appellate court extended the decision of Hoglund v. State, N.E.2d 1230 (Ind. 2012), in which the Supreme Court expressly eliminated the vouching-testimony exception in child molesting cases, to also include testimony referencing whether a child was coached.

“We read Hoglund to suggest that testimony about whether a child has been coached amounts to the same improper commentary on the child’s truthfulness as testimony about whether a child is prone to exaggerate or fantasize about sexual matters. We hold that general testimony about the signs of coaching, as well as the presence or absence of those signs in the child victim at issue, preserves the ultimate credibility determination for the jury and therefore does not constitute vouching. By contrast, where a witness opines as to whether the child victim was coached — offering an ultimate opinion, as Fish did here — the witness invades the province of the jury and vouches for the child,” Vaidik wrote.

 Kindred may be retried if the state chooses to do so, the judges ruled after reversing his conviction.

 

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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