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Transferred intent instruction not error in domestic violence trial

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An Elkhart County man’s conviction for domestic battery stands after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a jury instruction on the doctrine of transferred intent was not an abuse of discretion.

Jose Maldonado-Morales was convicted of Class D felony domestic battery for punching his ex-wife during an altercation in which he later said he was attempting to assault her boyfriend when she stepped between them. He argued that had he hit the boyfriend, he would have been charged with a misdemeanor. Because the divorced couple’s child was present, the charge was enhanced to a felony.

In Jose Maldonado-Morales v. State of Indiana, 20A05-1205-CR-255, Maldonaldo-Morales argued that the trial court erred by offering this jury instruction:

“If one intends to injure a person and by mistake or inadvertence injures another person, his intent is transferred from the person to whom it was directed to the person actually injured and he may be found guilty of domestic battery.”

Senior Judge John T. Sharpnack wrote that the case was similar to D.H. v. State, 932 N.E.2d 236 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), in which a juvenile was charged with the equivalent of a felony for striking a teacher when he was trying to punch another juvenile, which would have resulted in a misdemeanor.

In D.H., the court determined the culpability requirement of “knowingly or intentionally” in the battery statute applies only to the prohibited conduct of touching someone in a rude, angry or insolent manner.

“The state was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Maldonado-Morales knowingly or intentionally struck a person, and then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person that was struck is or was the spouse of Maldonado-Morales and that Maldonado-Morales committed the offense in the presence of a child,” Sharpnack wrote.

“There is no requirement that the state prove that Maldonado-Morales acted knowingly or intentionally as to the status of the victim or the presence of a child,” he wrote.

“The trial court did not abuse its discretion by instructing the jury as to the doctrine of transferred intent.”

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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