Did you know you can download our entire database for free?


Georgia Caselaw:
Greatest Hits

Georgia Code: Browse

(external) Findlaw Georgia Law Resources

This site exists because of donors like you.

Thanks! Georgia Caselaw
Aggravated battery. Douglas Superior Court. Before Judge Winn.
DEEN, Presiding Judge.
1. Under the evidence in this case the court did not err in failing to charge the defense of delusional insanity, or to explain what disposition is to be made of a prisoner who maintains a successful insanity defense.
2. Post-trial denial of supersedeas and transfer of custody of the defendant were acts within the court's discretion.
4. Restitution in the form of payment of damages to the victim of the assault in the amount of $50 per month, as a condition of probation, was reasonable. Where the amount was not contested by the defendant as being greater than the value of the injury, and was specifically agreed to, it constituted a proper exercise of judicial discretion. It is irrelevant that the total amount exceeds the maximum which might have been imposed as a fine.
5. The verdict was supported by the evidence.
The defendant Biddy, a man of dull normal intelligence, had suffered two head injuries resulting in damage to the temporal lobe of his brain, emplacement of a metal plate, recurrent epileptic seizures, and inability to work around machinery or drive a car without grave risk of danger. He was also subject to spells of amnesia, and reports of therapy sessions introduced in evidence show reactions of anger but not of violence. He had been given some odd jobs by the storekeeper Steed, whom he considered a friend and frequently visited. On the day in question he entered the store asking for work, and was told there was none. Somewhat later he picked up a hammer, asked how much it weighed, and suddenly attacked Steed, hitting him with it on the back of the head and again on the face. As a result of the attack Steed spent two weeks in the hospital, lost the use of one eye, underwent extensive plastic surgery on his face, suffered an episode of heart failure, and was treated by at least four specialists for his eye, face, and heart difficulties, as well as surgery involving the rear of the skull. The nose, left cheek bone, and bone beneath the eye socket were also broken. The defendant's testimony was that he remembered nothing about the attack or his flight from the store immediately thereafter.
Biddy was found guilty under both counts of a two-count indictment for aggravated assault and aggravated battery. He was sentenced to 10 and 20 years respectively, to be served concurrently, fourteen years to be served in the penitentiary and remaining six on probation. A special condition of the latter was that the defendant was ordered to pay restitution in the sum of $12,000 at the rate of $50 per month beginning three weeks after sentence through the Probation Department for the use of Steed.
The defendant's motion for new trial was overruled and he appeals.
1. An insanity defense was interposed, and the court charged at length on the subject, including the provisions of Code 26-702 and including states of temporary insanity. He did not charge Code 26-703 relating to delusional compulsion or that part of Code 27-1503 relating to disposition of the prisoner if the jury should find him not guilty by reason of insanity. We find no error. Delusional insanity as defined in Brown v. State, 228 Ga. 215 (184 SE2d 655), may be found where, in consequence of a delusion brought about by mental disease, the will is so overmastered that there is no criminal intent in reference to the act, and it must appear not only that the defendant was actually laboring under a delusion operating as a causative factor, but that the delusion is such that it, if true, would justify the act. No such evidence appears in this record. Nor is there any requirement that subsequent disposition of the prisoner be explained to the jury. On the contrary, argument as to a subsequent modification of sentence via probation or executive clemency is ground for mistrial. Code 27-2206. The first four enumerations of error are without merit.
2. Orders of the court complained of in Enumerations 5 and 6, denying supersedeas and transferring the prisoner pending his appeal, were within the discretion of the trial court.
3. The defendant struck the prosecutor two blows with a hammer. He was convicted on a two-count indictment of aggravated assault (Code 26-1302) and aggravated battery (Code 26-1305). While the crimes are separate and distinct as a matter of law, under the evidence in this case the assault is included in the battery as a matter of fact; therefore, only one punishment may be inflicted. State v. Estevez, 232 Ga. 316 (206 SE2d 475); Summerour v. State, 135 Ga. App. 43 (217 SE2d 378). It was proper to submit both counts to the jury; however, as a matter of fact there was but one criminal act. While it may be of small practical moment, since the court ordered the sentences to be served concurrently, we direct that the sentence as to the aggravated assault count be vacated so that there may be no doubt that only a single penalty is imposed.
The amount -- $12,000 -- appears a reasonable restitution in view of the serious and permanent injuries received. The evidence does show lengthy hospitalization and costly treatment by a number of specialists; it shows loss of an eye, protracted loss of earnings, and grave future impairment of earning capacity. It can be sustained, however, only by reason of the fact that the amount was not contested. The record shows that, at the time of sentencing, the defendant and his attorney being present, the court stated: "I omitted to mention the restitution earlier and as a part of his sentence he is required to make restitution to Mr. Steed. Do you have any suggestions as to what per month? I guess $50 per month." The defendant then volunteered that he had a disability income and "if you don't go no higher than $50 per month we could probably make that." A figure was thus arrived at by agreement as $50 per month for the period of the sentence, for a total of $12,000. While emphasizing that a defendant may not be sentenced to make restitution, the court may make restitution a condition of probation. As stated in State v. Scherr, 101 NW2d 77, 80: "Neither should the criminal process be used to supplement a civil suit or as a threat to coerce the payment of a civil liability and thus reduce the criminal court to a collecting agency . . . [but] we do not believe the legislature intended to foreclose the court from determining the amount of restitution where such amount is freely admitted by the defendant . . . When a court in a criminal suit determines the amount of restitution for the purpose of probation, it does so as a part of the criminal proceeding. Such proceeding determination is analogous in its nature to a pre-sentence investigation."
5. The evidence sufficiently establishes that the defendant did not commit the assault while in the throes of an epileptic grand mal seizure. Whether or not the episode arose from a fugue in which his conscious mind played no part was, under the evidence, a jury question. It is obvious from the record as a whole that the defendant's behavioral aberrations are connected with traumatic brain damage, and that his incarceration should be of a therapeutic rather than punitive character. Nevertheless, the evidence does not demand a finding that he was insane, as the word is legally defined in Georgia, at the time of the assault, and the evidence therefore is sufficient to support the verdict.
Judgment affirmed with direction that the sentence for aggravated assault be vacated. Quillian and Webb, JJ., concur.
John T. Perren, District Attorney, for appellee.
Clifton, Helms & Dodd, David A. Dodd, for appellant.
Friday May 22 07:33 EDT

This site exists because of donors like you.


Valid HTML 4.0!

Valid CSS!

Home - Tour - Disclaimer - Privacy - Contact Us
Copyright © 2000,2002,2004