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Ward v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 15, 2014

DEE WARD, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 115

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Jeffrey L. Marchal, Master Commissioner. Cause No. 49G06-1304-FB-25434.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: KAREN CELESTINO-HORSEMAN, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; J.T. WHITEHEAD, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BRADFORD, Judge. BARNES, J., and BROWN, J., concur.

Page 116

OPINION

BRADFORD, Judge

CASE SUMMARY

During the early morning hours on April 10, 2013, Appellant-Defendant Dee Ward repeatedly struck J.M. with a leather belt, causing J.M. to suffer extreme pain and serious bruising from her waist to her ankles. J.M.'s mother and step-father called 911 upon discovering J.M.'s injuries immediately after Ward dropped J.M. off at their home. The medical personnel who treated J.M. observed the severity of J.M.'s injuries. In the course of receiving treatment, J.M. indicated to the treating paramedic and emergency room forensic nurse that her injuries were caused by Ward. Ward was subsequently charged with and convicted of Class C felony battery and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

On appeal, Ward contends that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting J.M.'s identification of him as the attacker through the testimony of the treating paramedic and forensic nurse. Ward also contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for Class C felony battery, i.e., battery committed by means of a deadly weapon. Concluding that the Confrontation Clause does not apply because J.M.'s statements to the treating paramedic and forensic nurse were not testimonial and that the evidence is sufficient to prove that Ward committed the underlying battery by means of a deadly weapon, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

As of April of 2013, Ward and J.M. had been dating, off-and-on, for a period of nearly two years. During this time, J.M. sometimes stayed overnight with Ward. On occasions when she did not stay with Ward, J.M. would stay with her mother and step-father. Also during this time, Ward visited the home of J.M.'s mother and step-father on numerous occasions. J.M.'s step-father was also familiar with the vehicle driven by Ward.

J.M. did not stay with her mother and step-father on the night of April 9, 2013. During the mid- to late-afternoon on April 10, 2013, J.M.'s step-father saw Ward drive up in front of his home. After the vehicle stopped, J.M. exited the passenger side of the vehicle and began to walk toward the home. Ward then drove off as "quick as possible." Tr. p. 146.

J.M.'s step-father noticed that J.M., who normally walked quickly, was moving "very gingerly." Tr. p. 144. J.M.'s hands were shaking, and it appeared as though "every step hurt her." Tr. p. 145. J.M. was also hanging her head and crying. When J.M. reached the home, she told her step-father that she was hurt and asked where her mother was. After looking at J.M., J.M.'s step-father knew that something was "really wrong." Tr. p. 148.

When J.M.'s mother saw J.M., she observed that J.M. appeared to be in pain. J.M. leaned on the kitchen counter, asked for a cigarette, pulled her pants down to her ankles, and showed her mother her

Page 117

buttocks and legs. J.M. told her mother, "I'm hurting, it hurts." Tr. p. 123. J.M.'s mother could see that J.M. had pink, red, and purple colored welts all across her buttocks and down both the inside and outside of both of her legs. The welts extended from J.M.'s hips to her ankles. J.M. was still crying and seemed ashamed, hurt, and scared. Despite J.M.'s request to the contrary, J.M.'s mother asked J.M.'s step-father call 911.

Paramedic Linda Hodge-McKinney responded to the 911 call. Paramedic Hodge-McKinney had been trained in dealing with domestic violence cases. She had previously responded to over 100 cases involving victims who were struck with a belt, and was trained to recognize injuries caused by a belt. When paramedic Hodge-McKinney met with J.M., J.M. was weak and quiet, but responsive. J.M. seemed scared and was whimpering. J.M. indicated that Ward had "beat her with a belt and wouldn't let her leave." Tr. p. 202.

While being examined by paramedic Hodge-McKinney, J.M. stated that she was in "a lot of pain." Tr. p. 205. When paramedic Hodge-McKinney asked "[o]n a scale of one to ten, with one being the least amount of pain you've ever been in, ten being the most amount of pain you've ever been in," J.M. rated her pain a ten. Tr. pp. 205-06. J.M. indicated that the pain was "the most pain she's ever felt in her life." Tr. p. 218. A police officer who responded to the scene also observed that J.M. was suffering from "[m]assive bruising, basically all over her body especially her legs and buttock, welts, dark blue and black bruises. Pretty severe." Tr. p. 161.

In light of the severity of J.M.'s injuries, paramedic Hodge-McKinney determined that J.M. required hospitalization. Paramedic Hodge-McKinney was concerned that J.M. may have been suffering from internal injuries to her kidneys or abdomen. ...


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