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Supreme Court remands attempted murder case for reconsideration

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A Bloomfield man convicted of felony attempted murder will not get a new trial after the Indiana Supreme Court decided his case instead warranted reconsideration by trial court.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that although the trial court applied the wrong standard of mens rea, the appropriate remedy to correct that error is reconsideration by the court.

On Aug. 10, 2014, Jeremy Kohn and his girlfriend, Kylee Bateman, were sitting on Kohn’s front porch laughing at a story when Michael Miller, believing the couple was laughing at him, calmly approached them, cut Kohn’s throat with a knife, then walked away. Kohn recovered with 40 stitches, and Miller was arrested in connection with the attack three days later.

During interviews with police, Miller admitted that he had cut Kohn’s throat. When police asked if the cut was meant to kill Kohn, Miller said he did not care. The state charged Miller with Level 1 felony attempted murder and Level 5 felony battery, with the murder charge reading, in part, that Miller “did knowingly or intentionally attempt to commit the crime of Murder, to-wit: to knowingly kill Jeremy Kohn.”

After a bench trial, the Greene Circuit Court found Miller guilty but mentally ill on both counts, finding “that Defendant had the requisite intent to kill… .” Miller appealed, arguing the state did not present sufficient evidence to prove his specific intent to kill Kohn, as is required to prove attempted murder.

In a March opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined that the references to a “knowing” mens rea could indicate the application of the wrong standard of proof and, thus, remanded the case for a new trial. But in a per curiam opinion granting the state’s petition to transfer, the justices held the appropriate remedy for the application of the wrong standard of proof was a remand for reconsideration, not a new trial.

The high court sent the case,  Michael A. Miller v. State of Indiana, 28S04-1707-CR-468, back to the Greene Circuit Court to apply the appropriate legal standard – a specific intent to kill – and affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision in all other respects.

In a separate opinion, Justice Geoffrey Slaughter wrote he agreed that the wrong legal standard was applied. However, Slaughter dissented on the court’s chosen remedy, writing he would remand the case for a new trial because he shares the Court of Appeals’ concern that the judge, on remand, “’may have a difficult, if not impossible, task of distancing himself from the evidence already considered and in considering the case entirely anew.’”
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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