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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ind. Decisions - More on "Wife who was raped says husband's sentence was unjust" [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from May 20th, the story has now been picked up nationally.

Alison Vingiano's long story, posted last evening in BuzzFeed, includes a copy of the 6-page police report.

Matt Pearce of the LA Times report includes (from the initial online report):

Judge Eisgruber, a former prosecutor who was elected to Marion Superior Court in 2008 and is running for reelection in November, told The Times that he couldn't comment on the sentence because [David] Wise had filed an appeal of his conviction.

But when asked to clarify his remarks to [victim Mandy] Boardman about forgiving her husband, Eisgruber said he made them in the spirit of "I hope that you can forgive him one day, because he's obviously struggled with this and struggled to this day, and I hope that she could forgive him.

“Ultimately, I think that helps a lot of people heal -- it helps them to reach that point," Eisgruber added. "Some can, some cannot. I’m not in her shoes, I’m not able to say one way or another … It's not something that’s limited to her or this case. But when people are really struggling, I just offer that out. ... I just hope that they find peace." * * *

At trial, Wise did not confess to sexually assaulting his wife, but did admit having the videos on his phone, said Curtis, the prosecutor.

Wise also told the jury why he had been drugging his wife: "She was snippy and it made her nicer when he drugged her," according to the prosecutor. Officials think Wise may have been using Xanax, but weren't sure.

[Updated at 10:35 AM] A longer version of the LA Times story also appears today in the Chicago Tribune and includes quotes from Prof. Schumm:
Joel Schumm, a law professor at Indiana University, said that the judge’s sentence was unusual, given the crime, but was still well within the state’s sentencing guidelines.

“People are generally surprised [if] a crime like rape … does not include prison time, even a first-time offense,” Schumm said, noting that the “normal starting point” for B-felony rape was a 10-year prison sentence. (Indiana has four categories of felonies -- A, B, C and D felonies, with A felonies being the worst -- that carry different levels of punishment.)

However, Schumm added, under sentencing requirements for the B felonies for which Wise was convicted, “There’s not a requirement that any of that time is in prison -- there’s not even a requirement to be on home detention.”

Judges can be reported to a state judicial commission for ethics violations in handling cases, but Schumm said that if Boardman filed a complaint about Eisgruber for the sentence, “I’m sure it would be dismissed out of hand.”

“It’s a sentence that people disagree with, but as long as judges are following the statute, there’s no grounds for an ethics complaint,” Schumm said.

The Tribune story also reported:
After The Times published its interview with Boardman online on Monday evening, readers began reposting it and other stories related to the case to Eisgruber's election campaign Facebook page, with many condemning the judge for telling Boardman to forgive her rapist.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 21, 2014 10:16 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions