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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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