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Supreme Court affirms sexually violent predator status

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A man’s challenge to the finding that he is a sexually violent predator failed because the invited error doctrine precludes consideration of his claims on appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today. If it wasn’t for this error, three of the justices believed the defendant would have been entitled to relief.

In Matthew A. Baugh v. State of Indiana, No. 18S04-1007-CR-398, the justices affirmed the determination that Matthew Baugh is a sexually violent predator. He was convicted of two counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor. After such a conviction, a hearing may be held to determine whether the defendant also should be classified as a sexually violent predator.

Indiana Code Section 35-38-1-7.5(e) requires the court to appoint two psychologists or psychiatrists who have expertise in criminal behavior to evaluate the defendant and testify at the hearing. The hearing may be combined with a person’s sentencing hearing.

The trial court combined the two hearings and received two reports from the court-appointed psychiatrist and psychologist. Both found Baugh would be likely to commit future sex offenses, and one report stated he should be classified as a SVP. The two doctors did not testify at the hearing.

Instead of challenging their credentials as far as being able to evaluate Baugh or the fact they were not there in person to testify, Baugh’s counsel said it’s up to the court to make the SVP determination based on the convictions and the doctor’s reports. The trial court found him to be a SVP.

“The invited error doctrine applies here to preclude consideration of the defendant's appellate claims based on the absence of the doctors' live testimony at the hearing and the alleged insufficient expertise in criminal behavioral disorders,” wrote Justice Brent Dickson for the majority, with which Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Frank Sullivan and Theodore Boehm concurred.

Justice Robert Rucker concurred in separate opinion in which the chief justice and Justice Sullivan joined. They believe that had it not been for the invited error doctrine, Baugh would be entitled to relief. Based on their interpretation of the statute, the doctors had to testify in person at the hearing, and had he asked for them to testify live, the trial court would have had to honor that request. But because he invited the trial court to make its determination based in part on the doctors’ reports, he can’t now challenge that decision.

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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