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COA affirms mentally ill man's murder conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals was compelled today by Indiana Supreme Court precedent to affirm a murder conviction for a man who was found guilty but mentally ill.

In Gregory L. Galloway v. State of Indiana, No. 33A01-0906-CR-280, Gregory Galloway argued he should have been acquitted on the defense of insanity in the stabbing death of his grandmother. Galloway has a long history of mental illness and was inconsistent with his treatment and taking medication. His family had attempted numerous times to have him institutionalized but couldn't find a place in state that provided long-term secure care. He was in and out of hospitals and facilities his entire adult life and has bipolar disorder, often with severe psychotic and manic symptoms.

He lived with his grandmother - who lived next door to his parents - and had a good relationship with her. But because of his mental illness, his behavior and state of mind could be unpredictable. He often heard voices or believed he could read people's minds.

On the day of his grandmother's murder, he spent the day with her running errands and having lunch without incident. When he returned home, he got a knife and stabbed his grandmother in the chest. Just after the incident, he felt remorse and cooperated with police. He said he thought he would feel better if he stabbed her but he did not.

Galloway was charged with murder and eventually found competent to stand trial. Two psychiatrists testified he was insane at the time of the stabbing; a psychologist initially found Galloway to be sane, but then retracted his opinion after learning more facts about Galloway's behavior around the time of the stabbing.

The trial court found him guilty but mentally ill and sentenced Galloway to 50 years in prison. Henry Circuit Judge Mary G. Willis noted how his family had tried to have him institutionalized, and she would have begged a mental health provider to keep him long term in a civil commitment, but providers did not. She also said she didn't have the option to commit him for life to a mental health institution, but she couldn't allow him to return to the community. Galloway had failed to prove he was insane at the time of the stabbing.

The Court of Appeals relied on Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 2004), to affirm the trial court's verdict. In Thompson, there was overwhelming evidence to establish Thompson's insanity, but the trial court found her guilty but mentally ill. The Supreme Court affirmed, reasoning that a fact-finder is free to disbelieve uncontradicted testimony and that the trial court is entitled to focus on the facts in the record apart from the uncontradicted expert testimony.

In the instant case, the trial court explained its decision was based on Galloway's repeated refusals to take his medication, his drug and alcohol abuse, the danger he posed to himself and society if he were acquitted, that he was able to interact with people and act appropriately on the day of the stabbing, and that he cooperated with police.

Thompson compels the appellate court to affirm the verdict if there is any evidence whatsoever supporting it, no matter how slight, wrote Chief Judge John Baker. The Court of Appeals sympathized with Galloway's position, but the trial court was free to disbelieve any expert and lay testimony.

"Although Galloway's conduct does not foreclose the possibility that he was legally insane at the time of the killing, we are compelled by Thompson to find that it was reasonable for the trial court to conclude that he behaved normally because he was, in fact, sane," wrote the chief judge.

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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