Victims’ testimony admissible in child molesting case, COA rules

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The Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday was not convinced by a man’s argument that his decades-long sentence for child molesting was inappropriate or that victim testimony was inadmissible.

In Richard A. Mise v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-01049, Richard Mise was convicted of Class A felony child molesting and Class C felony child molesting after molesting two minors.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence and conviction in a Wednesday opinion, unpersuaded by Mise’s argument that his aggregate 34-year sentence with five years suspended was inappropriate. It likewise found the Hamilton Superior Court did not commit fundamental error in admitting into evidence testimony from the two victims.

Specifically, he contends that their testimony was inadmissible under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) because it involved prior bad acts that were ‘undisclosed’ and ‘uncharged.’ Mise acknowledges that he did not object to the testimony at trial. His failure to object to the testimony results in waiver of any argument regarding its admissibility,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote for the appellate court. “Mise recognizes this procedural default and argues that the admission of the testimony constituted fundamental error.”

However, the appellate court still found Mise failed to meet his burden of showing fundamental error. It also concluded that he failed to show how the admission of the victims’ testimony made a fair trial impossible and why the circumstances in this case were egregious.

Additionally, the appellate court in a footnote rejected Mise’s suggestion that the trial court improperly considered his score on the Indiana Risk Assessment System instrument.

Here, during the sentencing hearing, Mise was the one who highlighted his risk assessment score by presenting testimony from the probation officer. The trial court, however, did not use his assessment score as an aggravating circumstance,” Pyle wrote.

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