COA affirms doctrine of transferred intent applies

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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.”


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  1. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well