In the instant case, a young victim of child molestation was unable to testify in court, after regressing into such behaviors as making animal noises, hiding her face, clawing at her head, and biting her nails. Over the defendant’s objections that the State had not provided the required statutory notice, the trial court granted the State’s request for a fourteen-day continuance to permit arrangements for the victim to testify by closed circuit television after concluding that the defendant would not be prejudiced because he was given more time than was required under the statute including additional time for further plea negotiations. The trial court also observed that in light of the victim’s demeanor and her psychologist’s testimony, she would more likely than not suffer emotional or mental harm if she was forced to testify in open court. The defendant was found guilty as charged.
. . . .
Indiana Code section 35-37-4-8, the Protected Person Statute, permits the alleged victim of a sex crime to testify using a two-way closed circuit television if certain requirements are satisfied. One requirement in Subsection (e)(3) provides that “the prosecuting attorney inform the defendant and the defendant’s attorney under subdivision (2) at least ten (10) days before the trial of the prosecuting attorney’s intention to have the protected person testify outside the courtroom.”
Broude argues that the State did not provide notice that it intended to have A.M. testify outside the courtroom until the second day of trial after A.M. had already provided testimony in open court the first day. Broude points out that the Protected Person Statute is very clear regarding the notice requirement.
The State counters that the statute does not explicitly state that the notice must be given before the first day of trial and points out that “[m]ost trials are a process in which several witnesses are called.” Appellee’s Br. p. 9. The State maintains that the statute merely requires that a ten-day notice be given before the protected person is to testify outside the courtroom. Moreover, because the State gave a fourteen-day notice in the present case, the trial court properly allowed A.M. to testify outside the courtroom.
Here, Broude has failed to show how he was prejudiced by the State’s failure to give a ten-day notice before the beginning of his trial. More particularly, at trial Broude claimed that he was potentially prejudiced because had he known that A.M. was going to be permitted to testify outside the courtroom, he might have accepted a plea agreement. Tr. p. 102. The trial court remedied this by allowing Broude and the State to engage in further plea negotiations. Tr. p. 110.
Moreover, the trial court granted a fourteen-day continuance, giving Broude four additional days than what is required under the notice provision of the statute to prepare for A.M.’s testimony. Consequently, we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion under these circumstances, and this claim fails.
KIRSCH, J., and BROWN, J., concur.