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Prosecutor’s ‘CSI’ remarks don’t reverse molestation conviction

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A prosecutor’s comments to a prospective juror comparing the evidence needed for a conviction to that seen in a typical “CSI” television show weren’t fundamental error, a Court of Appeals panel ruled in affirming a man’s child-molestation conviction.

The panel affirmed conviction of two counts of Class A felony child molesting in Jason Deaton v. State of Indiana, 79A02-1303-CR-282.  Deaton appealed citing the “CSI” remarks and the prosecutor’s statement during closing that a victim’s testimony alone was sufficient for conviction.

Deaton pointed to a prosecutor’s questions during jury selection in which he asked how people perceived the popular crime procedural drama and the need for DNA or other evidence to support a conviction. Deaton said the questions were meant to reduce the state’s burden of proof.

Cited in the record are the prosecutor’s reference to the “CSI” shows and these remarks: “Does anyone -- would anyone need DNA evidence in a case like this? Would anyone need fingerprint evidence in a case like this? Is anyone going to hold me to a ‘CSI’ standard? Make me bring in all sorts of forensic evidence and fingerprints and DNA and do the light shows that they do on that show? Is anyone expecting that?”

Judge Melissa May wrote that because Denton had preserved neither prosecutorial misconduct claims for appeal, the alleged misconduct would have to rise to fundamental error, and it didn’t in either case. She noted the prosecutor in fact had correctly stated the law in closing.

“(T)his court and our Indiana Supreme Court have upheld child molesting convictions on the uncorroborated testimony of the victim on many occasions,” May wrote for the panel that included Judges Cale Bradford and James Kirsch, noting Deaton pointed to no caselaw stating otherwise.

“Deaton has not demonstrated fundamental error in the State’s comments during voir dire regarding the ‘CSI effect’ and the State’s comments during closing arguments regarding the evidence presented,” May wrote. “Further, the State presented sufficient evidence to convict Deaton of two counts of Class A felony child molesting. Accordingly, we affirm.”   
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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