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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. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  2. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  3. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  4. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

  5. What form or who do I talk to about a d felony which I hear is classified as a 6 now? Who do I talk to. About to get my degree and I need this to go away it's been over 7 years if that helps.

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