Absent at trial, but molester conviction stands, panel says

2012-09-06T20:34:00Z Absent at trial, but molester conviction stands, panel saysBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
September 06, 2012 8:34 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | An East Chicago child molester received a fair trial last year despite not being present in the courtroom, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

William Caples, 32, failed to attend the Oct. 11-13 trial, where he was convicted of three counts of child molesting and later sentenced to 35 years in prison. Caples impregnated a 12-year-old neighbor following multiple sexual encounters.

Caples argued in his appeal that the jury's verdict should be set aside because he was tried in absentia, violating his constitutional right to attend his trial.

In a 3-0 decision, the appeals court said Caples was repeatedly advised of his trial date and warned the trial would proceed even if he did not attend.

The appeals court said because Caples made no effort to tell the trial court or his attorney he would be absent, Lake Superior Judge Diane Boswell correctly presumed Caples waived his right to attend his trial, despite Caples' later claims of medical and transportation difficulties.

DNA testing confirmed to a 99.99 percent probability that Caples impregnated the 12-year-old victim, according to court records.

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