Trial court erred in disregarding psychiatrists’ unanimous finding

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A woman who brutally attacked her boyfriend’s minor child had her conviction overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the trial court did not have enough evidence to contradict the psychiatrists’ reports and find her guilty but mentally ill.

Tammy Lee Kelley was arrested and charged after an attack that left D.S., the minor child, with multiple stab wounds, including one that narrowly missed her kidney and another on her chest that partially collapsed one of her lungs.

Subsequently, Kelley was evaluated by two psychiatrists who both documented her mental disease and concluded she was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct at the time of the offense.

During a bench trial, no testimony was taken, the parties stipulated to the police reports and the two psychiatrists’ reports were offered along with some of D.S.’s medical records.

The trial court found Kelley guilty but mentally ill on the following: one count of criminal confinement as a Class C felony, battery of a person under fourteen resulting in bodily injury as a Class D felony, and resisting law enforcement as a Class A misdemeanor; and two counts of battery of a law enforcement officer resulting in bodily injury as Class D felonies.

On appeal, Kelley argued that the trial court could not find her guilty but mentally ill when the medical evaluations were unanimous that she was insane at the time of the incident and when there was no contradictory lay testimony.  

The state cited Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind. 2004) as giving the judge in this case the freedom to reject the expert testimony.

The COA reversed and remanded with instructions for the trial court to enter a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.

“While it appears that there was limited foundation for the psychiatrists’ determinations, there is even less on which the trial court could have decided to disregard those determinations,” Judge Margret Robb wrote for the court in Tammy Lee Kelley v. State of Indiana, 09A04-1303-CR-98.

“In short, there was no lay witness testimony and little demeanor evidence from which the court could have deduced, contrary to the two psychiatrists, that Kelley was sane at the time of the incident.”



  • What? only 2
    Hey 2 psychs is never enough, since it is statistically unlikely that three will ever agree on anything! New study admits this pseudo science is about as scientifically valid as astrology ... done by via fortune cookie ....John Ioannidis, professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, said the study was impressive and that its results had been eagerly awaited by the scientific community. “Sadly, the picture it paints - a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field - is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating,” he said.

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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.