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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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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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