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February 13, 2013

State court reviews conviction

Appeal entered by defense not approved

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals found no grounds to overturn the battery conviction of Blaine Johnson, of Louisville, who had assaulted his girlfriend in June 2011 while traveling together in her vehicle in Henryville. Johnson was convicted in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 in 2011.

The appeals court’s ruling was handed down Feb. 4. 

Johnson's defense purported to the appeal court that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the defense's motion to continue trial and that Clark County prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Johnson was originally charged with criminal confinement, a class B felony; battery, a class C felony; intimidation, a class C felony; battery, a class A misdemeanor; and being a habitual offender.

He was found guilty of both battery charges and with being a habitual offender.

The court entered judgment of conviction only for the C felony battery and sentenced Johnson to eight years enhanced by the habitual offender adjudication for a total of a 16-year sentence.

In review of the defense’s contention that the trial court denied its motion to continue, according to the appeals court's findings, the defense argued that it did not have ample time to interview the victim before she testified during the trial.

The prosecution had experienced difficulties locating the victim during the proceedings, but the appeal court found that the defense had 14 days prior to the trial to take statements from the victim.

“[The defense] was afforded the opportunity to depose or interview [the victim] during the two weeks preceding the trial, but [it] declined,” according that appeals court’s review.

The state court’s document continued that the defense asserted their cross-examination of the victim during the trial was compromised by the trial court’s refusal to grant a continuance to allow for proper presentation, but it did not explain, specifically, according to the state judges, how the trial preparation or cross-examination was compromised.

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