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Prosecutor’s closing argument deprived defendant of fair trial

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A man convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor will get a new trial after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the prosecutor’s zealous statements made to a jury during closing arguments deprived the man of a fair trial.

In Bruce Ryan v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1211-CR-932, the Court of Appeals concluded the prosecutor committed misconduct that resulted in a fundamental error. Subsequently, it reversed Ryan’s two convictions for Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor and remanded for a new trial.

“We have concluded that the prosecutor improperly commented on Ryan’s constitutional right to a jury trial; improperly disparaged defense counsel, the role of defense counsel, and our system of justice; improperly urged the jury to convict Ryan for reasons other than his guilt; and improperly vouched for Z.W-B.’s truthfulness,” Judge Terry Crone wrote for the court. “The State argues that no fundamental error occurred because the evidence of sexual misconduct was overwhelming and demonstrates that the results would have been the same without the prosecutor’s comments. We are unpersuaded.”

Ryan was convicted of two counts of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor after Z.W-B’s parents discovered emails from Ryan to their daughter and allegations of a romantic relationship emerged.

The COA found the state did not provide independent evidence that Ryan performed or submitted to touching Z.W-B in order to arouse or satisfy their sexual desires. Instead, the prosecutor made a series of statements that taken together deprived Ryan of a fair trial.







 

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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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