Dog attack justifies battery charge

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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Commanding an animal to attack a person can justify an aggravated battery charge under Indiana statute, ruled the Court of Appeals today.

In Shaquita Gilbert v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0606-CR-448, the Court of Appeals affirmed Gilbert's conviction for aggravated battery, a Class B felony under Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.5. Gilbert appealed, saying there is insufficient evidence showing she caused the injuries that brought on the aggravated battery conviction. Gilbert commanded a pit bull in the home where she lived to attack Veronica McAtee.

The facts of the case show Gilbert had a hostile relationship with McAtee. When McAtee showed up at the house where Gilbert was staying to drop off medication, Gilbert attacked her. Gilbert repeatedly punched McAtee and told the pit bull, "Get'er. Get'er. Sic. Sic. Get'er. Get'er." The dog latched onto McAtee's arm while Gilbert sprayed McAtee with mace and beat her with the empty can. Gilbert also yelled for the dog to kill McAtee; another person living in the house had to get the dog off of McAtee.

As a result of the attack, McAtee had swollen eyes, a black eye, bite marks on both arms and feet, and her right hand and arm suffered nerve damage to the extent that she now has no feeling in three fingers.

Gilbert was found guilty of criminal recklessness and aggravated battery and given a 10-year sentence with two years suspended to probation. She appealed the ruling, arguing the dog caused the most serious injuries and her own actions only caused McAtee's bruising and swollen eyes.

Not only did Gilbert command the dog to attack McAtee, she made no attempt to remove the dog from McAtee and encouraged the dog to continue to bite McAtee. The Court of Appeals cited several cases that determined dogs could be deadly weapons when used as such by a human. If a defendant uses a gun to injure someone, the courts would not find insufficient evidence to convict someone because the gun, rather than the defendant, killed or injured the victim, Chief Judge John Baker wrote for the majority. If a defendant incites and encourages a dog in an attack, it is logical and justified to hold the defendant responsible for the injuries.

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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues