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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. File under the Sociology of Hoosier Discipline ... “We will be answering the complaint in due course and defending against the commission’s allegations,” said Indianapolis attorney Don Lundberg, who’s representing Hudson in her disciplinary case. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ... Lundberg ran the statist attorney disciplinary machinery in Indy for decades, and is now the "go to guy" for those who can afford him .... the ultimate insider for the well-to-do and/or connected who find themselves in the crosshairs. It would appear that this former prosecutor knows how the game is played in Circle City ... and is sacrificing accordingly. See more on that here ... http://www.theindianalawyer.com/supreme-court-reprimands-attorney-for-falsifying-hours-worked/PARAMS/article/43757 Legal sociologists could have a field day here ... I wonder why such things are never studied? Is a sacrifice to the well connected former regulators a de facto bribe? Such questions, if probed, could bring about a more just world, a more equal playing field, less Stalinist governance. All of the things that our preambles tell us to value could be advanced if only sunshine reached into such dark worlds. As a great jurist once wrote: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914). Ah, but I am certifiable, according to the Indiana authorities, according to the ISC it can be read, for believing such trite things and for advancing such unwanted thoughts. As a great albeit fictional and broken resistance leaders once wrote: "I am the dead." Winston Smith Let us all be dead to the idea of maintaining a patently unjust legal order.

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