Hill v. State, No. 368

Docket NºNo. 368
Citation251 N.E.2d 429, 252 Ind. 601
Case DateOctober 09, 1969
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 429

251 N.E.2d 429
252 Ind. 601
Lee Willie HILL, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 368 S 54.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Oct. 9, 1969.

[252 Ind. 603]

Page 431

William C. Erbecker, James Manahan, Indianapolis, George W. Hand, New Castle, for appellant. Erbecker & Manahan, Indianapolis, Scotten & Hinshaw, New Castle, of counsel.

John J. Dillon, Former Atty. Gen., Theodore Sendak, Present Atty. Gen., Douglas B. McFadden, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

HUNTER, Judge.

Appellant in this case was charged with first degree murder to which he entered a written plea of not guilty together with a special plea of insanity. Trial by jury in the Henry Circuit Court resulted in a conviction of murder in the second degree and sentence to life imprisonment.

In his motion for a new trial, appellant assigns error on fifty-two specific points, consisting primarily of alleged error in the refusal of the trial court to give appellant's tendered instructions, in addition to the assertion that the verdict was contrary to law and not sustained [252 Ind. 604] by sufficient evidence. On appeal, however, appellant argues only that the trial court erred in refusing to give his tendered instruction No. 147 relating to the test to be used in determining insanity, and that the verdict was contrary to law and not sustained by sufficient evidence. It is well settled law that grounds urged in a motion for new trial, not discussed in the argument section of the brief are deemed waived. Supreme Court Rule 2--17. Brown v. State (1969), Ind., 247 N.E.2d 76. Short v. State (1968), Ind., 237 N.E.2d 258. Waggoner v. State (1949), 227 Ind. 269, 85 N.E.2d 642.

A brief recital of the evidence most favorable to appellee is as follows: appellant and his wife (hereinafter referred to as decedent), after a short and 'unhappy' marriage were divorced. However in October, 1966 they were reconciled and remarried. It appears at this time that the appellant was working two jobs in order to support his family as well as his mother and her children. Within a few weeks after their remarriage, the appellant and decedent once again began having marital problems which culminated in the events of December 18 and 19, 1966.

On December 18, while visiting his mother at her home, appellant got into a fight allegedly started by the decedent in which she introduced a knife. Sometime during the ensuing struggle the decedent was stabbed, although apparently not seriously. Immediately thereafter, appellant left the house whereupon his mother was told by the decedent that she would have to move out.

According to the appellant, on the following day, having learned from his mother that she had been put out of her house, he returned to his mother's residence to discuss with the decedent the possibility of his mother moving back into her home. Appellant and decedent began arguing again at which time his mother-in-law, who was also at the house, threatened to call the police if he didn't leave. At this point [252 Ind. 605] appellant claims to have blacked out. Later he arrived at the home of his friend Boyd Hall, and made a statement to the effect that he had just 'killed Bertha Lee and Mrs. Garret' and handed a gun to Hall. Upon the recommendation of Hall, appellant turned himself into the police, who upon investigation found the bodies of the appellant's wife and mother-in-law.

Appellant's tendered instruction No. 147 embodies the Durham test of insanity adopted in Durham v. United States, (1954), 94 U.S.App.D.C. 228, 214 F.2d 862, 45 A.L.R.2d 1430 namely that the defendant is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act was the product of a mental disease or defect. The trial court, upon

Page 432

refusing appellant's instruction on insanity, proceeded to instruct the jury as to the law in Indiana which recognizes both the M'Naghten and irresistible impulse tests. The court's instruction No. 44 reads in pertinent part as follows:

'* * * under the law of this State an accused person must be found not guilty of the offense with which he is charged, if at the time of committing the act the person accused was laboring under such a defect of reason from a diseased mind as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.

Furthermore, you are instructed that under the law of this State a person may have sufficient mental capacity to know right from wrong and to be able to comprehend the nature and consequences of the act, and yet not be criminally responsible for his actions; for an irresistable impulse of a person accused is a lawful excuse for the commission of an act, otherwise a crime, where the person committing it, though he is capable of knowing right from wrong, lacks in consequence of a diseased state of mind, the will power to resist an impulse to commit crime.'

Such an instruction is well documented in Indiana case law. Hashfield v. State (1965), 247 Ind. 95, 210 N.E.2d 429. Warren v. State (1963), 243 Ind. 508, 188 N.E.2d 108. Whitaker v. State (1960), 240 Ind. 676, 168 N.E.2d 212. Flowers v. State (1957), 36 [252 Ind. 606] Ind. 151, 139 N.E.2d 185. Plake v. State (1890), 121 Ind. 433, 23 N.E. 273. Goodwin v. State (1884), 96 Ind. 550. Stevens v. State (1869), 31 Ind. 485. Bradley v. State (1869), 31 Ind. 492. This court is fully aware of the substantive criticism leveled at the M'Naghten and irresistible impulse tests. 1 Although we are unable to agree with all such criticism, we are prepared to recognize that these tests, in light of current advances made in the field of psychiatry, have some inherent shortcomings. The M'Naghten test places emphasis on the defendant's cognitive faculty, in that the sole question is whether the defendant knew the nature and quality of his act, and if so, did he know that such act was wrong. Such an inquiry inhibits the type of testimony sought from experts in the field of psychiatry by restricting the nature of testimony to the defendant's ability to differentiate between right and wrong. As a result, testimony is usually lacking in regard to the actor's composite personality or complete mental state at the time of the act.

'The true vice of M'Naghten is not, therefore, that psychiatrists will feel constricted in artificially structuring their testimony but rather that the ultimate deciders--the judge or the jury--will be deprived of information vital to their final judgment.' United States v. Freeman (2d Cir.1966), 357 F.2d 606, 620.

Exclusion of such evidence ignores the tremendous advances made in psychiatric knowledge already alluded to and compels the jury to test guilt or innocence by a standard which unduly stresses the cognitive aspect of criminal intent. Further, the [252 Ind. 607] various degrees of incapacity are not recognized by such a test. The jury is made to decide either that the defendant could tell right from wrong or he could not. No other choice is given. As noted in the

Page 433

comments to the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code:

'The law must recognize that when there is no black and white it must content itself with different shades of gray.' American Law Institute, Model Penal Code (Tentative Drafts, Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4) 158 (1956)

This is not to say that the right-wrong test of M'Naghten should be completely abandoned. 2 An appreciation for the wrongfulness of an act is essential to the formation of a criminal intent. It is our position however, that the defendant's knowledge of the wrongfulness of his act should be considered by the jury in its proper perspective, along with other evidence of the defendant's state of mind.

Many states, like Indiana, have modified the M'Naghten test to include the irresistible impulse test, the general consensus of opinion among psychiatrists being, as noted by Dean Keedy, that there are cases where a person, suffering from a mental derangement, knows that it is wrong to inflict bodily harm upon another person, but owing to a mental derangement is incapable of controlling the impulse to commit such an act. Keedy, Irresistible Impulse as a Defense in the Criminal Law, 100 U.Pa.L.Rev. 956 (1952). The irresistible impulse test alone places emphasis upon the volition or will power element as a determinative of human behavior. The very term implies that the impulse [252 Ind. 608] must be sudden and overwhelming and as now applied does not include those cases involving reflection or brooding. Here again, as with M'Naghten, a total incapacity of the power to control one's will would seem to be required. The jury is permitted to study only one factor contributing to human behavior and a full investigation of the defendant's mental state of mind is rarely, if ever accomplished.

When both tests are applied in a single definition of legal insanity, consideration can then be given to the elements of cognition and volition as they relate to human behavior. However, many of the same objections are voiced when the tests are applied together as when applied individually. For example, expert testimony is still restricted to partial aspects of the defendant's mental state. There is no recognition of a mental disorder resulting from reflection and brooding; it also appears that the combination test would still require complete mental incapacity before criminal responsibility can be relieved.

Another undesirable aspect of the tests as now applied is the requirement that the defendant be suffering from a mental disease. Once again the expert is hamstrung by the preconceived notions of both judge and jury as to exactly what is encompassed by the term disease. In fact, psychiatrists themselves appear to be in general disagreement as to the exact nature of a mental disease. See e.g. Fingarette, The Concept of Mental Disease in Criminal Law Insanity Tests, 33 U. of Chi.L.Rev. 229 (1966) and authorities there cited. What is clear is that the term...

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89 practice notes
  • Greider v. Duckworth, No. 82-1487
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • March 11, 1983
    ...Flowers v. State, 236 Ind. 151, 163, 139 N.E.2d 185, 193 (1956). But that court adopted a broader definition of insanity in Hill v. State, 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429 (1969), and it is no longer possible to regard the legal meaning in Indiana of sanity as identical to the state of mind req......
  • People v. Drew, Cr. 20081
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 26, 1978
    ...§ 53a-13. Idaho: State v. White, supra, 93 Idaho 153, 456 P.2d 797. Illinois: Ill.Rev.Stats., ch. 38, § 6-2. Indiana: Hill v. State (1969) 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429. Kentucky: Terry v. Commonwealth (1963) 371 S.W.2d 862. Maryland: Md.Code, art. 59, § 25. Massachusetts: Commonwealth v. Mc......
  • Jacks v. Duckworth, No. 80-1639
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1981
    ...jury to presume intent against him. As to State's Instruction No. 4, there was no error. It was derived from language in Hill v. State, 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429, 435-436 (1969), and does not have the claimed effect of allowing the jury to presume the intent requirement of the offense ag......
  • Elza v. Liberty Loan Corp., No. 2-1180A371
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 21, 1981
    ...sense at the courtroom door and are unable to intelligently evaluate claims such as those present here. See, e.g., Hill v. State, (1969) 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429; United States v. Freeman, (2d Cir. 1966) 357 F.2d And so, Boden v. Del-Mar Garage, supra, is an aberration, an island in the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
89 cases
  • Greider v. Duckworth, No. 82-1487
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • March 11, 1983
    ...Flowers v. State, 236 Ind. 151, 163, 139 N.E.2d 185, 193 (1956). But that court adopted a broader definition of insanity in Hill v. State, 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429 (1969), and it is no longer possible to regard the legal meaning in Indiana of sanity as identical to the state of mind req......
  • People v. Drew, Cr. 20081
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 26, 1978
    ...§ 53a-13. Idaho: State v. White, supra, 93 Idaho 153, 456 P.2d 797. Illinois: Ill.Rev.Stats., ch. 38, § 6-2. Indiana: Hill v. State (1969) 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429. Kentucky: Terry v. Commonwealth (1963) 371 S.W.2d 862. Maryland: Md.Code, art. 59, § 25. Massachusetts: Commonwealth v. Mc......
  • Jacks v. Duckworth, No. 80-1639
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1981
    ...jury to presume intent against him. As to State's Instruction No. 4, there was no error. It was derived from language in Hill v. State, 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429, 435-436 (1969), and does not have the claimed effect of allowing the jury to presume the intent requirement of the offense ag......
  • Elza v. Liberty Loan Corp., No. 2-1180A371
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • October 21, 1981
    ...sense at the courtroom door and are unable to intelligently evaluate claims such as those present here. See, e.g., Hill v. State, (1969) 252 Ind. 601, 251 N.E.2d 429; United States v. Freeman, (2d Cir. 1966) 357 F.2d And so, Boden v. Del-Mar Garage, supra, is an aberration, an island in the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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