Hoglund v. Neal, No. 18-2949 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Hoglund and Mallot's daughter, A.H., was born in 1998. A.H. twice told her mother her father was molesting her. Mallot went to the police after Hoglund admitted he committed adultery. Detective Holliday interviewed A.H. in 2006. She said her father had her perform oral sex on him. Dr. Butler examined A.H. Hoglund denied the allegations but made strange and incriminating statements. Indiana charged him with child molesting. A.H. met with Counselor Shestak in 2007 and Dr. Mayle in 2009. At trial in 2010, A.H. testified; Butler, Shestak, and Mayle relayed what A.H. told them and essentially said they believed her. A jury found Hoglund guilty.
After exhausting state proceedings, Hoglund filed a federal habeas corpus petition, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to object properly to hearsay when the prosecutor asked the experts to say what A.H. said. The prosecutor invoked the medical exception under Indiana Rule of Evidence 803(4); defense counsel failed to assert the lack of a foundation that A.H. thought she was speaking to the experts for diagnosis or treatment. He also claimed the admission of the experts’ vouching violated due process. Indiana precedent at that time allowed limited, indirect vouching. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of relief. Defense counsel was deficient but did not prejudice Hoglund. Even without the objectionable hearsay, the case against Hoglund was strong. The vouching did not produce a significant likelihood an innocent person was convicted.