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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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