Defense attorney doesn’t want ‘prior bad acts’ evidence at trial
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent August 30, 2012 4:44PM
Updated: October 1, 2012 5:46PM
VALPARAISO — The attorney for a Valparaiso man accused of 23 felony counts for sexually related crimes, mostly against children, wants testimony evidence restricted.
In a hearing for Ryan Roy Schroeder, 26, attorney Matt Soliday argued that the cases of his client and his former girlfriend are different.
Testimony from other cases, or where charges weren’t filed, fell under evidence rule 404(b), commonly called a “prior bad acts” rule, Soliday said.
It would be “improper character evidence” against his client and not relevant to charges filed, Soliday said on Wednesday.
Schroeder faces 23 counts, two of which Soliday said should be tried separately, and faces 20 to 50 years in prison on each of the five highest, Class A felony aiding in child molesting.
The two Class D felony charges that Soliday said should be charged separately are aiding in voyeurism. Schroeder is accused of having both a juvenile female and Tara D. Tryon, 22, of Wanatah, take photos of women who weren’t aware of being photographed.
Schroeder’s charges came after Tryon had been charged with four counts of Class B felony child molesting, a Class C felony child molesting charge and seven Class C child exploitation charges for making child pornography that includes her.
Court records state Schroeder coerced her and other women into doing these acts.
Deputy prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said the testimony of five women would be relevant for three reasons.
It would show proof of motive, intent to commit the crimes and a lack of accidental circumstances leading to the crimes Schroeder is charged with.
Polarek said that Schroeder told investigators in Florida that he transferred child porn that Tryon sent to his phone onto his computer and saved it for two years to figure out what to do with it.
However, four of the witnesses — one a minor — would show Schroeder has a pattern of coercing such things from people.
For five minutes, Polarek encapsulated the testimony she expected, including Schroeder telling the women about molesting family members, coercing the minor to take photos of her mother naked and having women take sexually explicit photos of children.
Porter County Superior Court Judge Mary Harper indicated she should have decisions on Soliday’s motions before Schroeder’s Oct. 30 pre-trial hearing, including a previous motion to dismiss charges before then.
Soliday said he filed the motion to dismiss charges because Tryon is charged with Class B felonies for crimes, but Schroeder is charged with the higher Class A felonies for crimes of assisting.