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Pre-trial ID of attacker allowed at trial

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The trial court didn’t err in allowing a victim’s pre-trial identification of his attacker, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a matter of first impression.

Anthony Neukam attacked his former girlfriend’s new boyfriend, Carlos Aquino, putting Aquino in the hospital. The two have never met but Aquino recognized Neukam from photos in the girlfriend’s home and on the girlfriend’s MySpace page. Aquino told police it was Neukam who attacked him. Police got a print of Neukam’s photo from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and showed the photo to Aquino; he confirmed that was the man who attacked him.

Before his trial for battery and criminal mischief started, Neukam filed a motion to suppress the out-of-court identification, which the trial court denied. He was convicted of both charges.

In Anthony E. Neukam v. State of Indiana, No. 16A01-1002-CR-50, Neukam argues the identification process was unduly suggestive because the police officer showed Aquino only one photo that had Neukam’s name on it. Even though he failed to object at trial to the identification evidence and waived his claim on appeal, the Court of Appeals addressed it and found he wouldn’t have prevailed.

Aquino wasn’t identifying an unknown assailant and told police who his attacker was right after he was attacked. Only after Aquino said who his attacker was did police show him Neukam’s photo, wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

There isn’t any other Indiana case on this point, but using a case out of Kansas, State v. Franklin, 121 P.3d 447, 453 (Kan. 2005), they found the identification evidence to be properly admitted.

“The police showed Aquino Neukam’s BMV photograph, not so that Aquino could identify an unknown assailant, but simply to confirm that the Anthony Neukam Aquino identified was the same person as the defendant. Under these circumstances, we cannot say that this identification was impermissibly suggestive,” wrote the judge.

The appellate court also found sufficient evidence to support Neukam’s convictions.

 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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