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Indiana (2006/2017)

Steele v. State of Indiana (2015) Court of Appeals Case No. 49A02-1408-CR-585, Unpublished

The defendant struck the victim and her daughter. In cases involving child abuse, sexual assault, and/or domestic violence, courts may exercise discretion in admitting medical diagnosis statement which relay the identity of the perpetrator. (Perry v. State, 956 NE2d 41)

Cause of injury is important because the patient might be in danger and because of the origin of the injury might impact the type of tests necessary to determine whether there are additional injuries that we’re not seeing on the surface.

In preparing discharge orders for the patient, the doctor (nurse or social worker) must make sure the patient is going to a safe place. Statements by a victim/patient to medical personnel for medical purposes are inherently reliable.

Ward v. State, 50 N.E.3d 752 (2016, Indiana)

Statements made by the victim to paramedic and forensic nurse did not violate the confrontation clause.

Despite an “investigative” component, the forensic exam served the primary purpose test to furnish and receive emergency & psychological care.

Identifying the attacker is integral to the standard of care for medical treatment of a domestic violence victim.

McSchooler v. State, 15 N.E.3d 678 (2014), Unpublished

The defendant waived a jury trial and was convicted of felony strangulation. The defendant claimed that a 3-year sentence was an abuse of discretion. It was appropriate given the type of violence, that there was prolonged violence over several hours, and that the victim was significantly traumatized and still fearful of the defendant at trial. The defendant had a significant criminal history and didn’t take the trial seriously.

Miske, Jr. v. State of Indiana (2015) Unpublished, 32 N.E.3d 845

The defendant was convicted of rape, two counts of deviate conduct, confinement, strangulation, domestic batter, intimidation, battery and resisting law enforcement. The defendant claimed strangulation was not deadly force.

The victim was raped, sodomized, battered and repeatedly strangled and feared for her life. The victim suffered injuries to neck, face, arm, vagina, and rectum, and she had hair loss from hair pulling.

The court ruled that repeated strangulation was deadly force creating substantial bodily injury.

Maxwell v. State of Indiana (2016) Unpubd. 61 N.E.3d 405

The defendant strangled the victim to unconsciousness. She got dizzy, ears were ringing and then blacked out. When she regained consciousness, her pants were removed. The nurse testified that the victim’s symptoms were consistent with loss of consciousness: she suffered memory loss, confusion. and ear pain.

Loss of consciousness was sufficient for substantial bodily injury. The defendant claimed loss of consciousness was not substantial bodily injury.

The victim self-reported at the hospital. No tests were conducted.The victim’s loss of consciousness was not prolonged; if there was  loss of consciousness, it was only brief.

The court admonished appellant’s counsel for appalling lack of sensitivity by minimizing the assault – he called it a consent rape case and said that a  brief period of unconsciousness with superficial injuries did not “make the grade” for SBI.

Perry v. State of Indiana (2017) 78 N.E.3d 1

The defendant appealed on sufficiency of strangulation. The victim recanted her statement at trial and wrote letters to the defendant’s attorney. The victim sought medical attention for injuries and lied to the ER, saying she was in a car accident despite having no car. Later, she said she fell and was in a fight with two women. She was impeached by statements to the officer, but those statements were not introduced as direct evidence.

The defendant called the victim 176 times in violation of protection order. Jail calls were introduced.  No witnesses.

Reversed on appeal: 1) Speculation (through impeachment evidence) was not enough to convict and 2) venue. The defendant pled guilty to violations of a no contact order and was sentenced.

Johnson v. State of Indiana (2018) Unpublished. 2018 WL 504762

The defendant appealed based on sufficiency of evidence. The victim’s testimony was not credible because she failed to tell the patrol officer that he choked her, that he shoved a cigar in her mouth and that she urinated. That only came out later during the follow up investigation. And her testimony alone shouldn’t be enough to convict.

The defendant and the victim met on a dating service. It didn’t work out. She broke up with him. He got mad and hit her in the face. The victim told him to leave. The defendant choked the victim. She had difficulty swallowing, everything went black, and she ended up on the ground and urinated. The victim drove herself to the hospital.

A patrol officer went to the hospital and took the victim’s statement and photos.

At trial, the defendant claimed the injuries were a result of her leukemia; it never happened; she was mad he didn’t buy her drugs. The trial court did not find the defendant credible.

The case was won by the follow-up investigation. The victim was clearly traumatized at the time of the interview in the hospital.

Winborn v. State (2018, Indiana) 100 N.E.3d 710

In this case, the pregnant victim was “choked” for a couple of seconds. An ER doctor observed some redness to the neck, which was sufficient to prove felony strangulation even though no one saw visible injuries.

The defendant was sentenced to 2 years for strangulation and 5 years for assault on a pregnant victim.

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