Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Ind. Decisions - Thoughts on today's decision in Erasmo Leyva, Jr. v. State of Indiana?
Read today's 2-1 COA decision in Erasmo Leyva, Jr. v. State of Indiana (ILB entry here), a reader writes:
I think the Leyva decision is significant. In view of the NJ Sup Ct decision on eye witness testimony, the “Innocence Project”, and “information technology” I suggest you ask readers for input.From the dissent in Leyva:
In sum, I think that all of these circumstances make A.L.’s testimony incredibly dubious. I believe that it would be wise for us, as an appellate court, to draw upon the words of our predecessors, reminding us that while we should respect the province of the jury, it remains our responsibility to determine whether there is sufficient evidence as a matter of law. Likewise, we should be vigilant when a conviction is obtained on the basis of one eyewitness, so that we do not execute an injustice.Any comments from attorneys/judges? If you do not want your name used, please tell me in your note.
Notwithstanding the incredible dubiosity rule, I believe that it is time to consider whether we should require corroborating evidence when these type of offenses are supported only by the testimony of a single witness. * * *
With the advent of modern technology, including DNA testing and analysis, it is not unreasonable to require some form of corroborating evidence before convicting a defendant when the sole witness is the victim. This is especially true when the defendant has been accused of child molesting and similar offenses, insofar as if convicted, he will not only be sentenced accordingly, but also subject to certain registry and residency restrictions.