804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 2004), 49S04-0305-CR-209, Thompson v. State

Docket Nº49S04-0305-CR-209.
Citation804 N.E.2d 1146
Party NameRita D. THOMPSON, Appellant (Defendant below), v. STATE of Indiana, Appellees (Plaintiff below).
Case DateMarch 23, 2004
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 1146

804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 2004)

Rita D. THOMPSON, Appellant (Defendant below),

v.

STATE of Indiana, Appellees (Plaintiff below).

No. 49S04-0305-CR-209.

Supreme Court of Indiana

March 23, 2004.

Page 1147

Timothy J. O'Connor, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellant.

Steve Carter, Attorney General, Cynthia Ploughe, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

SHEPARD, Chief Justice.

Rita Thompson was convicted of residential entry. She admits committing the crime but argues that she presented uncontroverted expert evidence that she was legally insane at the time and therefore should have been found not guilty by reason of insanity. We conclude that, as with other evidence presented by either the State or the defense, a finder of fact is entitled to decide whether to credit the opinions of experts on insanity. Accordingly, we affirm the conviction.

Facts

Thompson does have a history of mental illness, a fact that manifested itself on February 12, 2001, when she went to the home of family friend Alisha Beeler to use the bath. After some time in the house, Thompson began to talk strangely to the

Page 1148

children. Beeler knew Thompson was mentally ill, and when Thompson later went to her car for some bath items, Beeler locked the door behind her. When Thompson came back to the door, Beeler told her to leave. Thompson became irate and began kicking the door and then the window. The window broke, and Thompson entered the house by climbing through it. Thompson and Beeler exchanged words, then Thompson collected her things and departed through the front door.

When police arrived at the scene, Thompson was driving away in her own vehicle. Officers stopped her and obtained her general information but then released her as only a suspect. Meanwhile, another officer interviewed Beeler and learned the foregoing facts. Thompson then telephoned Beeler several times, threatening to "shoot up" Beeler and her house. Thompson was taken into custody at her home about an hour and a half after the initial incident.

The State charged Thompson with residential entry, a class D felony, Ind.Code Ann. § 35-43-2-1.5 (West 1998). She was released on bond and subsequently committed acts on February 14 that led to her being charged with one count of battery, a class C felony, and three counts of criminal recklessness, class D felonies. These charges were tried in a separate case docketed in a different courtroom.

In this case, Thompson pled not guilty by reason of insanity and waived her right to a jury trial. The parties submitted the matter to the trial judge on the basis of stipulated evidence. The evidence included (1) a stipulation to the truth of the facts as stated in the probable cause affidavit, including that Thompson committed the charged acts, (2) the reports of the court-appointed psychiatrists that were prepared for the trial resulting from Thompson's acts on February 14, and (3) documents from previous emergency detention and commitment proceedings unrelated to these events.

The court found Thompson guilty but mentally ill and sentenced her to the maximum three years. Thompson appealed the trial court's rejection of her insanity defense, and the Court of Appeals reversed. It held that in the absence of evidence to contradict Thompson's expert testimony, she was entitled to an acquittal. Thompson v. State, 782 N.E.2d 451 (Ind.Ct.App.2003). We granted transfer.

Proof of Insanity

Because Thompson admits to committing the alleged offense, the only issue before us is whether the record supported the trial court's finding that Thompson was guilty but mentally ill rather than not guilty by reason of insanity.

Pursuant to Indiana Code Annotated § 35-41-3-6 (West 1998), "A person is not responsible for having engaged in prohibited conduct if, as a result of mental disease or defect, he was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense." The section defines "mental disease or defect" as "a severely abnormal mental condition that grossly and demonstrably impairs a person's perception, but the term does not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated unlawful or antisocial conduct." Ind.Code Ann.§ 35-41-3-6(b).

The "insanity defense" is an affirmative defense for which the burden of proof is on the defendant. The State must prove the offense, including mens rea, beyond a reasonable doubt but need not disprove insanity. Ind.Code Ann. § 35-41-4-1 (West 1998). "This Court has held that although the State is required to prove the defendant committed the act 'knowingly' this is not tantamount to requiring the State to prove that the defendant was 'sane.' "

Page 1149

Lyon v. State, 608 N.E.2d 1368, 1370 (Ind.1993). As we said more recently:

[A]lthough [the defendant] offered evidence of mental illness, the State has no obligation to offer evidence which disproves mental illness in order to meet its burden of proving [the defendant] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To require the State to disprove mental illness would shift the burden of proof of insanity, controverting the General Assembly's placement of that burden on the defendant.

Garner v. State, 704 N.E.2d 1011, 1013-14 (Ind.1998) (citations omitted). To avoid responsibility for the crime proven by the State, the defendant must establish the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. Ind.Code Ann. § 35-41-4-1(b).

Whether or not a defendant can appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct is a question for the trier of fact. A convicted defendant who claims his insanity defense should have prevailed at trial is in the position of one appealing from a negative judgment, and we will reverse only when the evidence is without conflict and leads only to the conclusion that the defendant was insane when the crime was committed. Robinette v. State, 741 N.E.2d 1162 (Ind.2001); Rogers v. State, 514 N.E.2d 1259 (Ind.1987). We will not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of witnesses but will consider only the evidence most favorable to the judgment and the reasonable and logical inferences to be drawn therefrom. Metzler v. State, 540 N.E.2d 606 (Ind.1989).

Although expert "opinions provide a strong justification for raising the insanity defense, we have never held expert testimony to be conclusive." Cate v. State, 644 N.E.2d 546, 547 (Ind.1994). Cases like Thompson's have often turned on the proposition that the trier of fact is free to disregard the testimony of experts and rely upon the testimony of lay witnesses. Garner, 704 N.E.2d at 1014; Barany v. State, 658 N.E.2d 60, 63-64 (Ind.1995); Rogers, 514 N.E.2d at 1261. Indeed, we have noted...

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164 practice notes
  • The Indiana Supreme Court's voting patterns in criminal decisions.
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 70 Nbr. 3, June 2007
    • 22 June 2007
    ...N.E.2d 258 (Ind. 2004); Williams v. State, 808 N.E.2d 652 (Ind. 2004); Edington v. State, 806 N.E.2d 310 (Ind. 2004); Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 2004); Dumas v. State, 803 N.E.2d 1113 (Ind. 2004); State v. Bulington, 802 N.E.2d 435 (Ind. 2004); Finger v. State, 799 N.E.2d 528 ......
  • 24 N.E.3d 1019 (Ind.App. 2014), 79A05-1403-CT-160, Myers v. Myers
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 25 November 2014
    ...under no obligation to believe this testimony and was free to believe or disbelieve Jason's mother as it saw fit. See Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind. 2004); Riviera Plaza Investments, LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 10 N.E.3d 541, 552 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014); McClendon v. State, 67......
  • 7 N.E.3d 1025 (Ind.App. 2014), 93A02-1303-EX-233, Indiana office of Utiity Consumer Counselor v. Indiana Michigan Power Co.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 11 March 2014
    ...not reweigh or reanalyze the evidence presented or substitute our judgment for that of the Commission. See Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind. 2004); McClendon v. State, 671 N.E.2d 486, 488 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996); Moore v. State, 637 N.E.2d 816, 822 (Ind. Ct......
  • 950 N.E.2d 821 (Ind.App. 2011), 49A04-1008-CR-536, Berry v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 20 July 2011
    ...without conflict and leads only to the conclusion that the defendant was insane when the crime was committed." Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind.2004). " As such, we will not reweigh the evidence or assess the credibility of witnesses but will consider only the evidenc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
159 cases
  • 963 N.E.2d 670 (Ind.App. 2012), 29A04-1106-CR-278, Carson v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 20 March 2012
    ...Moler court held that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict that Moler was GBMI. Id. at 458. In Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind.2004), the defendant, who had a history of mental illness, was convicted of residential entry. Thompson went to Alisha Beeler's home ......
  • 24 N.E.3d 1019 (Ind.App. 2014), 79A05-1403-CT-160, Myers v. Myers
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 25 November 2014
    ...under no obligation to believe this testimony and was free to believe or disbelieve Jason's mother as it saw fit. See Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind. 2004); Riviera Plaza Investments, LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 10 N.E.3d 541, 552 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014); McClendon v. State, 67......
  • 7 N.E.3d 1025 (Ind.App. 2014), 93A02-1303-EX-233, Indiana office of Utiity Consumer Counselor v. Indiana Michigan Power Co.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 11 March 2014
    ...not reweigh or reanalyze the evidence presented or substitute our judgment for that of the Commission. See Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind. 2004); McClendon v. State, 671 N.E.2d 486, 488 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996); Moore v. State, 637 N.E.2d 816, 822 (Ind. Ct......
  • 18 N.E.3d 320 (Ind.App. 2014), 79A04-1311-CR-559, Michaels v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 7 August 2014
    ...as the fact finder, was free to judge witness credibility and believe or not believe the witnesses as it saw fit. See Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (Ind. 2004); McClendon v. State, 671 N.E.2d 486, 488 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996); Moore v. State, 637 N.E.2d 816, 822 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994),......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Indiana Supreme Court's voting patterns in criminal decisions.
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 70 Nbr. 3, June 2007
    • 22 June 2007
    ...N.E.2d 258 (Ind. 2004); Williams v. State, 808 N.E.2d 652 (Ind. 2004); Edington v. State, 806 N.E.2d 310 (Ind. 2004); Thompson v. State, 804 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 2004); Dumas v. State, 803 N.E.2d 1113 (Ind. 2004); State v. Bulington, 802 N.E.2d 435 (Ind. 2004); Finger v. State, 799 N.E.2d 528 ......

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