Attorney for Appellant|
James F. Stanton
Attorneys for Appellee|
Jeffrey A. Modisett
Katherine L. Modesitt
STEVEN THOMAS HURST,
Appellant (Defendant below ),, Appellee (Plaintiff below).
) Supreme Court No.
August 26, 1998
On September 19, 1996, a jury found defendant Steven Hurst guilty of MurderSee footnote 1 1 , a felony. On November 1, 1996, the trial court sentenced defendant to 55 years in prison.
The sole issue on appeal is whether there was sufficient evidence for the jury to have found
defendant guilty as charged rather than guilty but mentally ill. We have jurisdiction over
this direct appeal because the longest single sentence exceeds 50 years. Ind. Const. art. VII,
§ 4; Ind.Appellate Rule 4(A)(7).
that needed to be pulled. (R. 119-20.) When Osuch asked defendant for an explanation,
he replied that he wanted to kill Roll. At the time, Osuch did not take defendant seriously.
Defendant then insisted that the group go for a walk. As the foursome walked along
railroad tracks, defendant again produced his gun, this time pointing it toward Roll's back.
Osuch slapped defendant's hand down, positioned herself between defendant and Roll and
moved Roll away from the group. Osuch announced that she wanted to return to her house.
Roll was still oblivious to defendant's conduct, so Osuch forcibly turned Roll around and
they began walking back toward Osuch's house. Osuch and Roll continued to walk along
the railroad tracks while defendant and Wilson walked along the road. At an intersection
just before Osuch's house, defendant suggested they turn to go into the cemetery. The
group walked to the cemetery where they remained until 6:15 a.m. before returning to
Upon leaving the cemetery, defendant and Wilson walked up a hill followed by Roll and then Osuch. Then, defendant lagged behind Wilson and positioned himself next to Osuch. He produced the gun from his shirt pocket, placed it on the back of Roll's head and shot her on contact. Defendant told Wilson and Osuch that they were the only three who knew of the incident, so don't let this happen to you. (R. at 134.) Defendant waved the gun at Wilson and Osuch and told them to keep moving. The threesome returned to Osuch's house.
have never explicitly stated the standard of review for such a challenge. But we have held
that when challenging a jury's rejection of a defendant's insanity defense, a defendant must
do so by asserting that the conviction was contrary to law. Barany v. State, 658 N.E.2d 60,
63-64 (Ind. 1995); Green v. State, 469 N.E. 2d 1169, 1171 (Ind. 1984) (citing Turner v.
State, 428 N.E.2d 1244, 1246 (Ind. 1981)).See footnote 4
Here, however, defendant contends that a
contrary to law burden is too great and instead requests that we create a new standard of
review for those appeals that challenge a jury's rejection of a guilty but mentally ill verdict.
We decline to do so. Such claims essentially challenge the sufficiency of the evidence.
Accordingly, when a defendant challenges a jury's rejection of a guilty but mentally ill
verdict, a court will review the jury's guilty verdict in light of whether there was sufficient
evidence to sustain the conviction.
To determine whether there was sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction, we will neither reweigh evidence nor judge the credibility of the witnesses. Lampkins v. State, 682
N.E.2d 1268, 1274-75 (Ind. 1997), opinion modified by 685 N.E.2d 698 (Ind. 1997). See
also Lee v. State, 684 N.E.2d 1143, 1149 (Ind. 1997); Horan v. State, 682 N.E.2d 502, 512
(Ind. 1997). We will affirm a conviction if, after considering the reasonable inferences and
probative evidence supporting the verdict, we conclude that a reasonable trier of fact could
find each element of the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Lampkins, 682
N.E.2d at 1275 (quoting Cook v. State, 675 N.E.2d 687, 692 (Ind. 1996)).
Defendant relies on the diagnosis of a court-appointed psychiatrist who found that the
defendant suffered from LSD psychosis [w]hich substantially disturbed his thinking,
feeling and behavior, and impaired his ability to function. (R. at 500.) The psychiatrist
testified that LSD psychosis was a mental illness. The court-appointed clinical psychologist,
however, testified that defendant was not mentally ill but that he was under the influence
[of LSD which] is not in and of itself a mental illness, it's a condition. (R. at 525.) This
was sufficient evidence for the jury to return a verdict of guilty rather than guilty but
Before concluding, we pause to consider the relief being sought here. Defendant does not seek a reduction in his sentence. Rather, he appears to seek application of Ind. Code § 35-36-2-5 which provides for certain evaluation and treatment procedures whenever
a defendant is found guilty but mentally ill.See footnote 5 5 We note that independent of Ind. Code § 35- 36-2-5(b), the Department of Correction is required to conduct a psychiatric evaluation and order psychiatric services for all committed offenders. See Ind. Code §§ 11-10-1-2 and 3(b) (1993). Indiana Code § 11-10-1-2 authorizes the Department of Correction to utilize in this regard the presentence investigative report and any reports of presentence physical or mental examinations, as well as any other information forwarded by the sentencing court. Ind. Code § 11-10-1-2(b) (1993). Further, before assigning an offender to a facility or program, the Department of Correction must provide the offender the opportunity to present pertinent information and discuss all aspects of his or her evaluation, classification and assignment process. Ind. Code § 11-10-1-3(d) (1993). In the end, defendant does not demonstrate that he would have received some advantage had he been found guilty but mentally ill that he will not otherwise receive. Cf. Douglas v. State, 663 N.E.2d 1153 (Ind. 1996) (trial court affirmed in part because of defendant's failure to suggest any disadvantage suffered from the court's action). However, in light of the psychiatrist's testimony at trial that defendant suffered from mental illness, we grant defendant leave to petition the trial court to forward
any psychiatric evaluations of defendant in the trial court's possession to the Department of
SHEPARD, C.J., and DICKSON, SELBY, and BOEHM, JJ., concur.
(b) If a defendant who is found guilty but mentally ill at the time of the crime
is committed to the department of correction, the defendant shall be further evaluated
and then treated in such a manner as is psychiatrically indicated for the defendant's
mental illness. Treatment may be provided by:
(1) the department of correction; or
(2) the division of mental health after transfer under [Ind. Code §] 11- 10-4.
Ind. Code § 35-36-2-5(b) (Supp. 1994).
Converted by Andrew Scriven