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Rehearing sidesteps state’s claims in battery case

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On a petition for rehearing, the state claimed a recent decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals held that “a social worker would always be a declarant in child abuse cases, even when the social worker is merely a scribe.” But the judges disagreed and decided that this particular case is not the proper one to make such a blanket determination.

In Verdyer Clark v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1202-CR-66, in addition to a social worker always being a declarant, the state argued that the Court of Appeals’ previous decision held “the age of the perpetrator is never pertinent to the medical diagnosis or treatment.”

The COA reversed Verdyer Clark’s Class D felony conviction of battery last year because the state was unable to prove that Clark was over 18 years old when he battered a child younger than 14. The state presented two documents from a social worker which both listed Clark as 23 years old.

The state claimed that the hearsay statements by the social worker were admissible because they were related to medical diagnosis or treatment. The Court of Appeals, however, found them inadmissible because the social worker was the declarant, not the person seeking diagnosis or treatment, and Clark’s age wasn’t pertinent to the diagnosis or treatment of the infant victim.

“Here, the record and argument did not permit us to decide whether a social worker would ‘always’ be a declarant in child abuse cases, and we did not so hold. We leave for another day the determination whether or when a social worker is a declarant in a child abuse case,” Judge Melissa May wrote.

“In our original decision we said only that the information in the record before us about Clark’s age had no ‘apparent relevance to a diagnosis of the child’s injuries.’ The relevance was not apparent because on appeal, the State offered no ‘explanation why information about Clark’s age might be relevant to a diagnosis of the child’s injuries,’” she continued.  “Again, a determination whether the age of a perpetrator is relevant to a child victim’s medical diagnosis or treatment is best left to another case.”
 

 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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