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Nicknames properly admitted in sex with minor convictions

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Nicknames and aliases a defendant used were relevant to the charges he faced, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming felony convictions of sexual misconduct with a minor.

In Audie Wilson v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1210-CR-846, the panel affirmed convictions of Class B felony and Class C felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and Class B felony attempted sexual misconduct with a minor.

The court rejected appellate arguments that nicknames or aliases used by Wilson were improperly admitted. Wilson was convicted of acts against a 15-year-old boy who he had previously picked up in his van and paid small sums to help him wash cars.

"Wilson testified during direct examination as to his use of the nickname 'Mike,' thus opening the door to questioning during cross-examination as to his use of other nicknames. Further, none of the nicknames explored by the State carry any implication of wrongdoing,” Judge Mark Bailey wrote for the panel. “Therefore, the use of nicknames here does not create a connotation of criminality sufficient to thwart the fairness of a trial.”
 
Likewise, the panel rejected Wilson’s claim that the jury was improperly instructed with regard to Wilson’s defense that he had a reasonable belief that the victim was older than 16. The record showed that Wilson had knowledge that the victim was 15, Bailey wrote, so an instruction given the jury regarding the defense was not fundamental error.


 

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