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COA affirms mentally ill man's murder conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals was compelled today by Indiana Supreme Court precedent to affirm a murder conviction for a man who was found guilty but mentally ill.

In Gregory L. Galloway v. State of Indiana, No. 33A01-0906-CR-280, Gregory Galloway argued he should have been acquitted on the defense of insanity in the stabbing death of his grandmother. Galloway has a long history of mental illness and was inconsistent with his treatment and taking medication. His family had attempted numerous times to have him institutionalized but couldn't find a place in state that provided long-term secure care. He was in and out of hospitals and facilities his entire adult life and has bipolar disorder, often with severe psychotic and manic symptoms.

He lived with his grandmother - who lived next door to his parents - and had a good relationship with her. But because of his mental illness, his behavior and state of mind could be unpredictable. He often heard voices or believed he could read people's minds.

On the day of his grandmother's murder, he spent the day with her running errands and having lunch without incident. When he returned home, he got a knife and stabbed his grandmother in the chest. Just after the incident, he felt remorse and cooperated with police. He said he thought he would feel better if he stabbed her but he did not.

Galloway was charged with murder and eventually found competent to stand trial. Two psychiatrists testified he was insane at the time of the stabbing; a psychologist initially found Galloway to be sane, but then retracted his opinion after learning more facts about Galloway's behavior around the time of the stabbing.

The trial court found him guilty but mentally ill and sentenced Galloway to 50 years in prison. Henry Circuit Judge Mary G. Willis noted how his family had tried to have him institutionalized, and she would have begged a mental health provider to keep him long term in a civil commitment, but providers did not. She also said she didn't have the option to commit him for life to a mental health institution, but she couldn't allow him to return to the community. Galloway had failed to prove he was insane at the time of the stabbing.

The Court of Appeals relied on Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 2004), to affirm the trial court's verdict. In Thompson, there was overwhelming evidence to establish Thompson's insanity, but the trial court found her guilty but mentally ill. The Supreme Court affirmed, reasoning that a fact-finder is free to disbelieve uncontradicted testimony and that the trial court is entitled to focus on the facts in the record apart from the uncontradicted expert testimony.

In the instant case, the trial court explained its decision was based on Galloway's repeated refusals to take his medication, his drug and alcohol abuse, the danger he posed to himself and society if he were acquitted, that he was able to interact with people and act appropriately on the day of the stabbing, and that he cooperated with police.

Thompson compels the appellate court to affirm the verdict if there is any evidence whatsoever supporting it, no matter how slight, wrote Chief Judge John Baker. The Court of Appeals sympathized with Galloway's position, but the trial court was free to disbelieve any expert and lay testimony.

"Although Galloway's conduct does not foreclose the possibility that he was legally insane at the time of the killing, we are compelled by Thompson to find that it was reasonable for the trial court to conclude that he behaved normally because he was, in fact, sane," wrote the chief judge.

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  1. 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.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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