A Madison County father convicted of molesting his son has lost his appeal of his conviction, with the Indiana Court of Appeals finding statements a prosecutor made during the son’s deposition were reasonable and non-threatening.
In 2016, Matthew Greer convinced his wife, Christina, to teach their minor son D.G. about sex. Shortly after the boy’s 13th birthday, Christina performed oral sex on the boy while Greer stood nearby, watched and engaged in other sexual conduct.
Several months later when Greer and Christina had separated and begun arguing, Greer notified the Indiana Department of Child Services that Christina had molested D.G. After DCS interviewed D.G. and police interviewed his mother, Greer was arrested and charged with Level 1 felony child molesting; Level 3 felony vicarious sexual conduct; Level 4 felony incest; Level 6 felony performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor; and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.
Two weeks before Greer’s trial, D.G. testified at a deposition that Greer had not participated in his molestation, but merely walked in, witnessed what was happening and then went back to bed. The prosecutor told D.G. that he did not think D.G. was telling the truth and that he could get into trouble for lying under oath. D.G. then admitted that he had lied and asked “to restart” his testimony, ultimately testifying against Greer at trial. Greer was convicted and sentenced to 43 ½ years of incarceration.
On appeal, Greer contended the prosecutor’s alleged misconduct during D.G.’s deposition denied Greer the right to present witnesses in his own defense at trial. The appellate court disagreed, finding the prosecutors warnings of “trouble” if D.G. failed to testify truthfully did not amount to misconduct.
“First and foremost, the only reason that any of this even occurred is that D.G. radically changed his story two weeks before a trial in which he was expected to be one of the State’s leading witnesses. We think that the prosecutor was entitled to fully explore this change, including informing the witness that there could be consequences for lying on the stand,” Judge Cale J. Bradford wrote.
“Moreover, the prosecutor did not explicitly threaten D.G. with prosecution and repeatedly reminded him that he would be in trouble only if he did not tell the truth, not if he testified on Greer’s behalf,” Bradford continued. “ … The prosecutor was fully aware that, not only had D.G. incriminated his father in earlier statements, he had done so in a way that was almost entirely consistent with—and therefore corroborated by—Christine’s extremely self-incriminating statements.”
The appellate court thus concluded Greer failed to establish fundamental error and failed to prove the prosecutor’s actions were improper, “much less egregious or blatant.”
The case is Matthew Edward Greer v. State of Indiana,18A-CR-404.