COA to hear insanity murder case at Batesville High School

A traveling panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals will head southeast this week to hear oral argument in a murder case that considers Indiana’s legal standard for insanity.

A panel of judges Edward Najam, L. Mark Bailey and Cale Bradford will hear the case of Joshua B. Risinger v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-00281 on Wednesday at Batesville High School. The case stems from the death of a homeless man after Joshua Risinger set fire to his trailer, where the homeless man had been staying as a guest. A jury found Risinger guilty but mentally ill of felony murder, murder and arson, which the Washington Circuit Court merged into one count of murder.

On appeal, Risinger argues that his statements and waiver of Miranda rights were involuntary and that police failed to cease the interrogations after he invoked his Miranda rights. He also challenges the trial court’s decision to allow a forensic psychiatrist to testify that Indiana’s legal standard for insanity is whether a defendant can appreciate the legal wrongfulness of his actions. Instead, Risinger contends that the legal standard is moral wrongfulness.

The panel will consider the argument at noon Wednesday at the school, 1 Bulldog Boulevard West, Batesville.

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