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Justices to review denial of shooter's insanity defense

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the appeal of a man whose 120-year sentence on conviction of four counts of attempted murder was reversed by the Court of Appeals.

Donald Myers was convicted of firing on multiple motorists and police officers along U.S. 20 in Steuben County. Police shot Myers after he continued to brandish a shotgun, and he fled into woods where he was flushed out after an hours-long standoff in April 2004.

But the Indiana Court of Appeals in a memorandum decision held that the trial court abused its discretion by denying Myers’ insanity defense, holding that “in the absence of any admissible evidence of probative value that even inferred sanity at the time of the crimes, the jury clearly erred in rejecting Myers’s insanity defense.”

The trial court also abused its authority in admitting evidence of Myers’ refusal to speak with police and his request for counsel to support a showing of sanity, the COA held. Multiple evaluations found Myers incompetent, and he was committed to the Logansport State Hospital.

He was transferred to Richmond State Hospital in 2012, where he was found to have regained competency, at which he was found guilty but mentally ill. The case is Donald William Myers, III v. State of Indiana,  76S03-1407-CR-493.

Justices also agreed to hear an insurance dispute following a fire that destroyed the office of a dentistry practice. The office was left with damages of more than $500,000 over what policy limits provided.

A trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the insurer, finding the insurer had explained the policy’s limits. A panel of the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the insurer had a special duty to advise the office about coverage and ensure the office was fully covered based on the longstanding business relationship between the practice and the insurance company.

The case is Indiana Restorative Dentistry, P.C. v. The Laven Insurance Agency, Inc., and Proassurance Indemnity Company, Inc. f/k/a The Medical Assurance Company, Inc., 49S05-1407-PL-491.

The Indiana Supreme Court also granted transfer and dismissed the appeal of a custody dispute in which the Court of Appeals ruled that a trial court order automatically awarding custody of a child to the father violated the custody modification statute.

That case is In re the paternity of C.J.A.: G.C. (mother) v. T.A. (father), 79S02-1407-JP-484.

Those cases are among five to which justices granted transfer for the week ending July 25. Transfer also was granted in two cases in which the court already has ruled. Those cases are:


Justices denied transfer in 25 cases. Supreme Court transfer disposition lists may be seen here.
 

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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