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Non life-threatening injury gets aggravated battery conviction reversed

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A defendant who shot at a car with a semiautomatic rifle, causing a bullet to graze the driver, did not commit Class B felony aggravated battery because the injury inflicted upon the victim did not create a substantial risk of death.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed one of Bobby Alexander’s convictions for Class B felony aggravated battery in Bobby Alexander v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1207-CR-351. The court concluded Alexander was convicted on the basis of his actions rather than on the basis of the statute which requires the injury to pose the risk of death.

Alexander was charged with two counts of Class A felony attempted murder and two counts of Class B felony aggravated battery after he shot at a car and injured two of the occupants. The passenger suffered significant injuries, but the driver, Ryan Little, sustained a graze wound on his back and did not receive any medical treatment.

Following a two-day trial, the jury found Alexander guilty of two aggravated battery charges but not guilty of the attempted murder charges.

The Court of Appeals agreed with Alexander that the state’s evidence was insufficient to prove that the defendant knowingly inflicted an injury on Little that created a substantial risk of death.

“Indeed, the record before us reveals that the State appears to have been confused on this substantial risk of death element for the Class B felony aggravated battery charge,” Judge Rudolph Pyle wrote for the court. “In both the charging information and the State’s closing argument, the State asserted that it needed to prove that Alexander’s actions of shooting at Little’s car created a substantial risk of death. However, the aggravated battery statute clearly provides that it is the injury inflicted upon the victim – not the defendant’s actions – that must create a substantial risk of death.”

The Court of Appeals remanded with instructions that the trial court enter judgment of conviction for battery as a Class C felony and resentence accordingly.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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