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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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