INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a Michigan City man sentenced in January to 60 years in prison for molesting a 12-year-old girl received a fair trial.
Eugene Tschopp, 45, asked the appellate court to set aside his convictions for level 1 felony child molesting and criminal confinement, among others, because he received ineffective assistance from his trial attorney and there was not enough evidence to prove confinement.
Tschopp argued that his trial attorney did not adequately cross-examine the witnesses against him, and presented an insufficient, one-minute closing statement before the jury began deliberating on his fate.
In its 3-0 decision, the Court of Appeals determined that even if the attorney's cross-examinations and closing statement were deficient, "there was sufficient evidence to support Tschopp's child molesting ... convictions."
"Tschopp has failed to show that the outcome of his trial would probably have been any different if his trial counsel had not allegedly performed deficiently," the court said.
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Concerning criminal confinement, the court said it will not reweigh evidence the jury considered to conclude that Tschopp used a basket or chair to block the girl's bedroom door prior to molesting her.
"Criminal confinement of a child may be proven by the child's uncorroborated testimony alone if the jury finds that said testimony establishes the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt," the court said.
Tschopp is required by law to serve at least 75 percent of his prison term, or 45 years.
According to the Indiana Department of Correction, Tschopp will be 89 years old at his earliest possible release date of May 11, 2062.