COA: Intelligence text exclusion not abuse of discretion in residential entry case

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a Lawrence County man’s residential entry conviction, finding the exclusion of his psychological assessment from evidence was not an abuse of discretion.

While leaving his home to go to the store, Kenneth Ivey drive past two people walking along the side of the road. The two individuals, including Michael McGill, walked up Ivey’s driveway, prompting the homeowner to turn around and go back to investigate.

When Ivey saw his backdoor open and the two strangers inside his house, Ivey yelled at them to get out and watched them leave and proceed to enter another house down the street. Both were arrested and charged with Level 6 felony residential entry.

The Lawrence Superior Court granted the state’s motion in limine seeking to exclude from evidence McGill’s 2019 psychological assessment purporting to show that McGill’s intelligence quotient of 67 was significantly below average. The court concluded that if the defense had wanted to argue that McGill lacked the capacity to form the requisite mens rea due to a mental defect, the defense would have been legally required to properly file notice of its intention to interpose the defense of mental disease or defect under I.C. 35-41-3-6 and I.C. 35-36-2-1.

Thus, the trial court upheld its previous ruling after a one-day jury trial, excluding the psychological assessment from evidence. With a guilty verdict from the jury, the trial court entered judgment of conviction as a Class A misdemeanor pursuant to Indiana Code section 35-50-2-7 and imposed a 64-day sentence, which was the time McGill served in pretrial confinement.

On appeal, McGill argued that the trial court erred by excluding the results of his psychological assessment from evidence. But the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, finding he had failed to adequately authenticate the psychological assessment as a record of a regularly conducted business activity, and as such, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the assessment from evidence.

Additionally, the appellate court rejected McGill’s assertion that he mistakenly assumed he and his companion were allowed to enter Ivey’s house.

“He contends the State failed to put forth sufficient evidence to rebut his mistake-of-fact defense and to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted with the requisite intent to commit residential entry. We disagree,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the appellate court.

“McGill left only after the homeowner directed him to do so, and McGill did not offer any explanation to Ivey when Ivey confronted him. McGill’s argument that he entered the house only because he thought (Janna) McIntire had permission to enter Ivey’s house is thus an invitation for us to reweigh the evidence, which we will not do,” the appellate court concluded. “Therefore, we hold the State presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude McGill acted with the requisite culpability when he entered Ivey’s house.”

The case is Michael T. McGill v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-327.

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