Court of Appeals affirms man’s domestic battery conviction

August 18, 2015

Evidence from a forensic nurse was not improperly admitted in the trial of a man who was convicted of felony domestic battery against his girlfriend of 20 years.

Richard Steele was convicted of four counts of battery that were merged into a single conviction of Class D felony domestic battery, and he was sentenced to 545 days in prison. He appealed his conviction claiming that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting medical records from the nurse.

The records, admitted over Steele’s objection, indicated that the victim and her 12-year-old daughter both told the nurse that the victim’s injuries were caused when Steele punched her in the face. The report also included the nurse’s contact information and discharge instructions urging the victim to contact a domestic violence shelter and seek counseling.

At trial, the victim testified that she and Steele argued the day she was injured but denied Steele struck her, claiming instead that she tripped and hit her face on a table. The jury nevertheless convicted Steele, and the Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday.

“Steele has not demonstrated error in the admission of the testimony of and medical record” from the nurse, Judge Melissa May wrote for the panel in Richard Steele v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1408-CR-585. “Steele’s conviction is supported by sufficient evidence. Steele was not subjected to double jeopardy when the court merged the findings of guilt into one conviction.”  


Recent Articles by Dave Stafford