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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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  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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