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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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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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