from the Clark Circuit Court The Honorable Vicki Carmichael,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 10C04-1306-FC-164
Attorney for Appellant Larry O. Wilder Jeffersonville,
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Matthew B. MacKenzie Deputy Attorney General
Melvin Wolf appeals his conviction of Class A misdemeanor
battery. He argues the evidence was
insufficient to sustain his conviction. We affirm.
and Procedural History
[¶2] On May 26, 2013, Melvin Wolf was
at the Charlestown Speedway in Charlestown, Indiana, to watch
his adult son, Patrick, participate in a midget car race.
During the race, another driver, Kevin Blue, collided with
Patrick, impeding his progress in the race. Wolf observed the
collision during the race. Blue subsequently beat Patrick in
After the race finished, Blue drove to the weigh-in area of
the racing pit and exited his vehicle. Wolf moved from the
bleacher area where he had been watching and made his way to
the racing pits to see Patrick. Wolf had a pit pass that
allowed him access to the racing pits. On the way to meet his
son, Wolf saw Blue in the weigh-in area. Wolf approached Blue
and called him profane names. Blue turned around and told
Wolf to "get out of [his] face, " (Tr. at 25), but
Wolf continued yelling profanities and then punched Blue. A
scuffle ensued until both parties were pulled apart. Another
race driver, Logan Arnold, pulled off the race track and
exited his vehicle just as Wolf and Blue began fighting.
Arnold "heard screaming, looked over, " and saw
Wolf and Blue on the ground. (Id. at 49.) He saw
Wolf "on top of [Blue]." (Id.)
After Wolf and Blue were pulled apart, Wolf went to
Patrick's pit area. A race official approached Wolf and
informed him he was being suspended for three races for
hitting someone. Wolf then walked to his car and left the
speedway with his wife. Arnold followed Wolf to his vehicle,
wrote down Wolf's license plate number, and called the
In response to the call, Officer Scott Johns of the Clark
County Sheriff's Office arrived at the race track. Johns
observed "swelling, redness, and an abrasion" to
Blue's nose, and a "softball size knot in the center
of [Blue's] back." (App. Vol. II at 12.) Blue told
Officer Johns he was standing in the weigh-in area after the
race "talking with those around him when he turned
around and [an] older heavy set man punched him in the nose
causing him to fall flat on his back." (Id.)
Per Blue's account in the report, the man "got on
top of him and continued to punch him until the other people
standing around pulled the suspect off." (Id.)
Blue indicated he had never seen the man before, but several
others identified the person who attacked Blue as Wolf.
Blue went to the Saint Catherine Regional Hospital to receive
treatment for his injuries. As a result of the altercation,
Blue sustained a bruised, bloody nose and a lump on his lower
back. Blue underwent CT scans of his face and lumbar spine,
and he received an ice pack and pain medication. Officer
Johns met with Blue at the hospital and photographed
Blue's injuries. On June 7, 2013, the State charged Wolf
with Class A misdemeanor battery.
On June 9, 2016, the trial court held a bench trial. The
trial court heard testimony from Officer Johns, Blue, Arnold,
and Wolf. When Blue testified, he again stated Wolf punched
him in the nose, but denied "fall[ing] flat on [his]
back, " as written in Officer Johns' police report.
(Tr. at 40.) Wolf's counsel questioned Blue on the
inconsistency between Blue's testimony and Blue's
prior statement at an August 6, 2015, deposition wherein Blue verified the accuracy of the
police report stating Blue "[fell] flat on his
back." (Id. at 40-41.) Wolf's counsel also
noted other inconsistencies between Blue's testimony and
his prior statements at the deposition, such as Blue's
testimony that he put Wolf in a "choke-hold."
(Id. at 43.)
Wolf asserted self-defense. Wolf testified he approached
Blue, but only to "call him a dirty name."
(Id. at 65.) Wolf admitted he hit Blue, but he
claimed he did so only after Blue grabbed his shirt.
Wolf's counsel moved for judgment on the evidence,
arguing Blue was the aggressor because he grabbed Wolf's
shirt and Wolf had the right to defend himself.
At the conclusion of the bench trial, the court denied
Wolf's motion for judgment on the evidence, rejected
Wolf's self-defense claim, and found Wolf guilty of Class
A misdemeanor battery. The court sentenced ...