Young v. State, No. 1071S301

Docket NºNo. 1071S301
Citation280 N.E.2d 595, 258 Ind. 246, 30 Ind.Dec. 91
Case DateMarch 30, 1972
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 595

280 N.E.2d 595
258 Ind. 246
Marvin Leon YOUNG, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 1071S301.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
March 30, 1972.

[258 Ind. 247]

Page 596

John G. Bunner, Evansville, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Darrel K. Diamond, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

HUNTER, Justice.

This is an appeal by Marvin Leon Young from a judgment in the Vanderburgh Circuit Court convicting him [258 Ind. 248] of Second Degree Burglary. On February 18, 1971, appellant was charged by affidavit. Appellant waived arraignment, and entered a plea of not guilty. On May 3, 1971, appellant entered a special plea of insanity. The cause was tried on May 10, 1971, and upon conviction appellant was sentenced to the Indiana State Prison for a term of not less than two (2) years nor more than five (5) years.

The sole issue presented on appeal concerns the correctness of the instructions given to the jury relating to the determination of the appellant's sanity.

Page 597

State's Instruction Number One, given as modified, reads as follows:

'In Indiana there is a presumption of sanity of a defendant. However, if the jury finds that credible evidence to the contrary has been introduced by the defendant, then the State has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was sane at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, and if from evidence the State has failed to prove that the defendant has substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct and that the defendant had the mental ability and sufficient power to conform his conduct to the requirement of the law, then your verdict should be not guilty.'

We need give no further consideration to the other instructions for the reason that the above instruction is patently defective. For reasons hereinafter stated, the judgment must be reversed.

It was error for the jury to be instructed that there was a presumption that the defendant was sane. It was also error to instruct the jury that 'if the jury finds that credible evidence to the contrary has been introduced by the defendant, then the State has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was sane at the time of the commission of the alleged crime. . . .'

It is clearly the law in this State that the defendant in a criminal prosecution is presumed to be sane. See, Brattain v. [258 Ind. 249] State (1945), 223 Ind. 489, 61 N.E.2d 462; McHargue v. State (1923), 193 Ind. 204, 139 N.E. 316; Walters v. State (1915), 183 Ind. 178, 108 N.E. 583. The presumption of sanity is a legal presumption, and its existence eliminates the necessity for the State to prove sanity in each and every criminal prosecution.

'In a criminal case it is convenient to require the accused, if he wishes to raise the question of sanity, to produce evidence of his insanity. This saves the state the fruitless trouble to proving sanity in the great number of cases where the question will not raised. The vehicle for accomplishing this saving of time is the presumption of sanity.' McCormick, Law of Evidence, § 309, at 641 (1954).

In Bradley v. State (1870), 31 Ind. 492, the Court commented on the purpose and the nature of the presumption.

'The legal presumption of sanity simply dispenses with proof on that subject in the first instance on the part of the State.' 31 Ind. at 506.

The above language in Bradley v. State, supra, was cited with approval by Judge Ewbank in McHargue v. State, supra.

Keeping in mind the purpose and nature of the presumption of sanity, it logically follows that the only burden imposed by the presumption is the burden of producing evidence which is imposed upon the defendant. The burden of persuasion, however, rests at all times upon the State. In Walters v. State, supra, 183 Ind. at 179, 180, 108 N.E. at 584, the Court observed:

'When the defense of insanity is interposed in a criminal case by a proper plea, the burden rests upon the State to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was sane at the time of the commission of the acts alleged as constituting the crime. This burden never shifts from the State. Every person is presumed to be sane and this presumption is sufficient to constitute a prima facie case in favor of the State where there is no evidence to dispute it, and for this reason the state is not required to introduce evidence in chief to prove the sanity of the defendant. However,[258 Ind. 250] where there is some evidence introduced upon the issue of the defendant's sanity and the jury is called upon to consider such evidence for the purpose of determining his guilt or innocence, it must find that the State has sustained the burden which the law imposes and that the

Page 598

evidence in the case establishes the sanity of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. Such reasonable doubt as to a defendant's sanity may arise from evidence introduced by the State as well as from that introduced by the defendant.'

It is clear from the language in the Walters decision that the presumption of sanity is sufficient to constitute a prima facie case in favor of the State where there is no evidence introduced to dispute the presumption. Stated in other terms, if the defendant fails to meet the burden of producing evidence, the legal presumption of sanity is sufficient to establish a prima facie case in favor of the State. Thus the only significance of the presumption is that it operates where no evidence of insanity has been introduced. This view is wholly consistent with the purpose the presumption is intended to serve. It follows, therefore, that when the defendant has met the burden of producing evidence, the legal presumption of sanity has no further evidentiary value, and the jury should not be instructed as to its existence.

In Commonwealth v. Vogel (1970), 440 Pa. 1, 17, 268 A.2d 89, 102, Mr. Justice Pomeroy, in an Opinion in Support, logically sets forth what we believe to be the correct statement of the law:

'According to the view this Court has expressed on past occasions, a presumption of law is not evidence no should it be weighed by the factfinder as though it had evidentiary value. Rather, a presumption is a rule of law enabling the party in whose favor it operates to take his case to the jury without presenting evidence of the fact presumed. It serves as a challenge for proof and indicates the party from whom such proof must be forthcoming. When the opponent of the presumption has met the burden of production thus imposed, however, the office of the presumption has been performed; the presumption is of no further effect and drops from the case. See Watkins v. Prudential Insurance Co., 315 Pa. 497, [258 Ind. 251] 173 A. 644 (1934); Szmahl's Estate, 335 Pa. 89, 6 A.2d 267 (1939); Geho's Estate, 340 Pa. 412, 17 A.2d 342 (1941); Commonwealth v. Wucherer, 351 Pa. 305, 41 A.2d 574 (1945); Waters v. New Amsterdam Cas. Co., 393 Pa. 247, 144 A.2d 354 (1958); Waugh v. Commonwealth, 394 Pa. 166, 146 A.2d 297 (1958); and Allison v. Snelling & Snelling, Inc., 425 Pa. 519, 229 A.2d 861 (1967). See, also, 9 Wigmore, 3rd Ed. § 2490 et seq. (1959).'

Our case law prior to Berry v. State (1968), 251 Ind. 494, 242 N.E.2d 355, provided that the burden of producing evidence had been met when 'some' evidence of insanity has been introduced. See, Flowers v. State (1956), 236 Ind. 151, 139 N.E.2d 185; Brattain v. State, supra; Walters v....

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27 practice notes
  • State v. Milam, No. 14060
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 20, 1979
    ...164 Conn. 95, 318 A.2d 95 (1972). See also 10 Suffolk University L.Rev. 1037 et seq." (258 S.E.2d at 439.) See also Young v. State, 258 Ind. 246, 280 N.E.2d 595 (1972); State v. Thomas, 219 N.W.2d 3 (Iowa 1974); Fowler v. State, 237 Md. 508, 206 A.2d 802 (1965); Commonwealth v. McHoul,......
  • State v. Butler, No. 65
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • February 19, 1999
    ...See McGowan v. State (1977), 267 Ind. 16, 366 N.E.2d 1164; Sumpter v. State (1974), 261 Ind. 471, 306 N.E.2d 95; Young v. State (1972), 258 Ind. 246, 280 N.E.2d 595. In this case then territorial jurisdiction is an element of the offense that must be proved by the Id. (emphasis added). Thus......
  • Gordy v. State, No. 871S242
    • United States
    • August 1, 1974
    ...denote matters of law and the word 'inference' to denote matters of fact. Defendant urges the recent case of Young v. State (1972), Ind., 280 N.E.2d 595 to support his contention that the word 'presumption' [262 Ind. 278] in the instruction placed a burden upon him to prove the absence of m......
  • Williams v. State, No. 675S147
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 20, 1976
    ...that these instructions together are equivalent to the instruction disapproved in Young v. State (1972), 258 [265 Ind. 203] Ind. 246, 280 N.E.2d 595. This authority is not applicable to this case. Young v. State involved an erroneous instruction on the presumption of sanity, holding that wh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • State v. Milam, No. 14060
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 20, 1979
    ...164 Conn. 95, 318 A.2d 95 (1972). See also 10 Suffolk University L.Rev. 1037 et seq." (258 S.E.2d at 439.) See also Young v. State, 258 Ind. 246, 280 N.E.2d 595 (1972); State v. Thomas, 219 N.W.2d 3 (Iowa 1974); Fowler v. State, 237 Md. 508, 206 A.2d 802 (1965); Commonwealth v. McHoul,......
  • State v. Butler, No. 65
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • February 19, 1999
    ...See McGowan v. State (1977), 267 Ind. 16, 366 N.E.2d 1164; Sumpter v. State (1974), 261 Ind. 471, 306 N.E.2d 95; Young v. State (1972), 258 Ind. 246, 280 N.E.2d 595. In this case then territorial jurisdiction is an element of the offense that must be proved by the Id. (emphasis added). Thus......
  • Gordy v. State, No. 871S242
    • United States
    • August 1, 1974
    ...denote matters of law and the word 'inference' to denote matters of fact. Defendant urges the recent case of Young v. State (1972), Ind., 280 N.E.2d 595 to support his contention that the word 'presumption' [262 Ind. 278] in the instruction placed a burden upon him to prove the absence of m......
  • Williams v. State, No. 675S147
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 20, 1976
    ...that these instructions together are equivalent to the instruction disapproved in Young v. State (1972), 258 [265 Ind. 203] Ind. 246, 280 N.E.2d 595. This authority is not applicable to this case. Young v. State involved an erroneous instruction on the presumption of sanity, holding that wh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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