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Sandleben v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 11, 2014

STEVEN M. SANDLEBEN, Appellant-Defendant,
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

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APPEAL FROM THE VANDERBURGH CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable David D. Kiely, Judge. Cause No. 82C01-1310-FD-1071.


ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, JUSTIN F. ROEBEL, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

NAJAM, Judge. BAILEY, J., and PYLE, J., concur.


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NAJAM, Judge


Steven Sandleben appeals his convictions for three counts of public voyeurism,[1] two as Class D felonies and one as a Class A misdemeanor, following a bench trial. He presents five issues for our review, which we revise and restate as follows:

1. Whether the evidence is sufficient to support his convictions.
2. Whether the voyeurism statute, as applied, is unconstitutionally vague.
3. Whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain business records.
4. Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced him.
5. Whether his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.
We affirm.


On August 12, 2013, as Stephanie Newton shopped in an Evansville store with her three children, she observed Sandleben squat down and place his hand up the skort[2] of her four-year-old daughter, E.N. When Newton screamed at Sandleben to get away from her daughter, Sandleben pulled his hand from under the skort, apologized, and quickly left the store. When he did, Newton observed that Sandleben held what looked like a cell phone in his hand, which he slipped into his pocket as he left. Newton followed him to the door of the store to get a description of his vehicle and called police.

Based on the information provided by Newton, police were able to locate Sandleben at his apartment on that same day. When officers arrived at Sandleben's apartment, he answered the door, and the officers observed computer equipment inside the apartment. They detained Sandleben, and Newton arrived for a show-up identification, at which time Newton positively identified Sandleben as the man from the store. Police then obtained a search warrant for Sandleben's apartment and cell phone and, during its execution, seized a pocket camera, SD memory cards, a computer tower with five hard drives, and marijuana paraphernalia. Later, Detective Brad Evrard, of the Evansville Police Department, performed forensic computer analysis on the cell phone, one hard drive,[3] and an SD card. On the SD card, he found nineteen deleted files, including three videos of young girls playing in the Evansville store. In the third video, the camera is momentarily placed under E.N.'s skort.

In addition to the files recovered from the SD card, Detective Evrard also found over 200 digital videos on the hard drive. Thirteen of the videos, titled " [H] and [L]" were found in a folder titled " siterock." Tr. at 62. When Evrard Google-searched the term " siterock," it returned a post from a user by that name on an Internet website called The profile picture associated with siterock's account depicted Sandleben. On the website, siterock had authored 178 threads, one of which was titled " [H] and [L]." Id.

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Evrard discovered that the videos on the computer and the videos from TheCandidForum were the same. They came from an underwater camera, which had been zoomed in and focused on the lower bodies, legs, and crotch areas of two young girls swimming in what Evrard recognized as a local pool. Evrard then cross-referenced the names [H] and [L] with local school records and successfully identified the two victims from the video, H.W. and L.N. Both were twelve years old.

The State charged Sandleben with three counts of public voyeurism; one count of possession of marijuana, as a Class A misdemeanor; and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, as a Class A misdemeanor. One count of public voyeurism related to E.N. and was charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The other two counts related to H.W. and L.N. and were charged as Class D felonies for the electronic ...

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