ILNews

COA affirms doctrine of transferred intent applies

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that the doctrine of transferred intent applied in the case of a juvenile adjudicated for committing battery for hitting his teacher unintentionally when trying to punch another student.

While at school, D.H. got into an argument with another student in class. Teacher Joanne Cornett decided to kick the other student out and move D.H. to another part of the room. As she reached for the doorknob, D.H. threw a punch at the other student and hit Cornett in the head. D.H. was placed on probation with special conditions for committing what would be Class D felony battery on a school employee and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct if committed by an adult.

D.H. argued in D.H. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-1002-JV-92, that there’s not enough evidence to show he knowingly or intentionally hit his teacher. He claimed the doctrine of transferred intent shouldn’t apply because the crime he would have been charged with if he hit the student versus the crime he was charged with for hitting his teacher weren’t on the same punishment level. Hitting the other student would have been the equivalent of a Class A or B misdemeanor; hitting his teacher was a Class D felony.

The appellate court wasn’t persuaded by D.H.’s argument. The state isn’t required to prove he knowingly or intentionally struck his teacher; the state is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he knowingly or intentionally hit someone. Then the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the victim was his teacher in the course of her duties, which elevates the offense.

“We find that the fact that the victim of a battery is a school employee in the course of her duties is akin to a battery causing a serious bodily injury—it is an aggravating circumstance that increases the penalty for the crime,” wrote Chief Judge John Baker. “Thus, while the State is required to prove this fact beyond a reasonable doubt, it need not prove that D.H. acted with the requisite culpability with respect to this fact.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT