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Supreme Court considers MySpace statement

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The Indiana Supreme Court today issued an opinion that affirmed a Kosciusko Circuit jury's conviction of a man who murdered his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter and the resulting sentence of life in prison without parole. The opinion also considered the defendant's novel question: whether statements from his social networking Web site, which were presented to the jury as evidence of his character, were admissible in court.

In Ian J. Clark v. State of Indiana, No. 43S00-0810-CR-575, the high court found Ian Clark's statements made on a MySpace page were admissible as evidence.

In the opinion, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard included the description that Clark made about himself on the Web site, which the prosecutor read for the court over the defense's objection:

"'Society labels me as an outlaw and criminal and sees more and more everyday how many of the people, while growing up, and those who judge me, are dishonest and dishonorable. Note, in one aspect I'm glad to say I have helped you people in my past who have done something and achieved on the other hand, I'm sad to see so many people who have nowhere. To those people I say, if I can do it and get away. B... sh.... And with all my obstacles, why the f... can't you.'"

Clark had also stated to a detective while waiting in an exam room with police, "I will f...ing kick your ass. I will send the Hell's Angels to kill you. F... it. It's only a C felony. I can beat this."

"Clark's MySpace declarations shared much with his boast to the police after he killed Samantha," Chief Justice Shepard wrote.

Clark argued that because prior criminal acts should not be admissible in court, the MySpace statement would fit into that category.

However, Chief Justice Shepard wrote, "Clark's posting contained only statements about himself and in reference to himself. (Tr. at 465-469.) Thus, the State is right to observe that this is solely evidence of his own statements, not of prior criminal acts. It was Clark's words and not his deeds that were at issue, so Rule 404(b) does not apply."

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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