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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Lane v. Ballot (7/25/2014) sp-6929

Lane v. Ballot (7/25/2014) sp-6929

         Notice:  This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the PACIFIC  REPORTER .  

         Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts,  

         303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, e-mail  

         corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.  



                   THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA  



LENNIE LANE III,                                      )  

                                                      )        Supreme Court No. S-14782  

                           Appellant,                 )  

                                                      )        Superior Court No. 3AN-11-08545 CI  

                  v.                                  )  

                                                      )        O P I N I O N  

JOHN BALLOT, as Personal                              )  

Representative of the Estate of                       )       No. 6929 - July 25, 2014  

Annie Ballot,                                         )  

                                                      )  

                           Appellee.                  )  

                                                      )  



                  Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  

                              

                  Judicial District, Anchorage, John Suddock, Judge.  



                  Appearances:    Lennie  Lane  III,  pro  se,  Kenai,  Appellant.  

                                                                      

                  Steven  D.  Smith,  Law  Offices  of  Steven  D.  Smith,  P.C.,  

                                  

                  Anchorage, for Appellee.  



                  Before:  Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and  

                                                                     

                  Bolger, Justices.   



                  MAASSEN, Justice.  



I.       INTRODUCTION  



                  Lennie Lane appeals from the superior court's grant of summary judgment  

                                                                                            



against  him  in  a  personal  injury  case.    The  superior  court  applied  the  doctrine  of  



collateral estoppel to find that Lane's criminal conviction for assaulting Annie Ballot  



established  that  he  was  liable  to  her  in  tort.    Lane  challenges  the  sufficiency  of  the  


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

evidence of his criminal conviction.  He also challenges the application of collateral  



                                       

estoppel, arguing that (1) his conviction was not final because it was on appeal at the  



                                                                   

time the court relied on it, and (2) the verdict against him - "guilty but mentally ill" -  



             

was not sufficient to establish the elements of the crime of which he was convicted.  We  



affirm the superior court's judgment.    



II.       FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS  



                                                                                                          1 

                                                                                                             Both she and  

                    Annie Ballot filed suit against Lennie Lane in superior court. 



Lane  were  represented  by  counsel.    Ballot's  complaint  alleged  that  Lane  "without  



                                                                                                

provocation attacked the plaintiff, raped her[,] and beat her so severely that she was  



                                                      

comatose for an extended period of time and unable to conduct her personal affairs for  



                                                                                    

several months."  The complaint further alleged that "[a]s a result of the aforesaid actions  



the defendant [Lane] was convicted of A[S] 11.41.410(a)(1), [AS] 11.41.210(a)(2)[,] and  



                       2  

                                                                                                        

AS 11.56.610."   Finally, the complaint alleged that "[a]s a direct and proximate result  



                                                                

of the conduct of the defendant, . . . Ballot suffered pain and suffering and humiliation  



                                    

both past and future for which she is entitled to general damages from the defendant in  



an amount to be determined at trial."  Lane, through his attorney, admitted all these  



allegations in his answer.     



                    During  a  status  hearing  in  March  2012,  Lane's  attorney  repeatedly  



acknowledged that Lane had been convicted of crimes based on the events on which  



                                                           

Ballot's  civil  claims  were  based;  but  Lane,  participating  telephonically,  seemed  to  



          1         Annie Ballot died after this suit was filed.  The parties orally agreed at a  



hearing  in  the  superior  court  that  her  personal  representative,  John  Ballot,  could  be  

substituted  as  a  party  and  the  caption  amended  accordingly.    The  superior  court  so  

ordered, but the parties continued to use the case's original caption on appeal.   We  

amend the caption on our own order to reflect the superior court's order.   



          2  

                                                                                                      

                    The three listed charges are, respectively, sexual assault in the first degree,  

assault in the second degree, and tampering with physical evidence.   



                                                             - 2 -                                                      6929
  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

disagree.  The superior court advised that "in an abundance of caution" Ballot should file  



                                                                                     

a motion for summary judgment on liability, and Lane and his attorney could decide how  



                                                                                                                                                                3  

to respond.  The superior court then set a damages hearing for the week of May 14.   



                          Ballot  filed  her  summary  judgment  motion  on  March  27  but  failed  to  



                    

support it with any evidence.  Lane apparently filed no opposition, but the superior court  



                                                                                                                                 

nonetheless denied the motion without prejudice, concluding that under Alaska Civil  



                                                                                                                                         

Rule 56, "[a]bsent an affidavit and/or copy of [the] criminal judgment, [the attorney's]  



unsupported allegation [in the motion] is inadequate for summary judgment."   



                         At the damages hearing on May 15, Ballot's attorney had yet to acquire  



                                                                 

documentary evidence of Lane's conviction.  He argued that the admissions in Lane's  



                                                 

answer  were  sufficient  to  establish  the  facts  necessary  for  liability,  though  he  



                                                                                                                       

acknowledged Lane's apparent position that the answer had been drafted without his  



                     

approval.   The superior court again relied on Civil Rule 56 for the proposition that a  



                                                                                                                         

motion for summary judgment must be supported by evidence; the judge suggested that  



a copy of the judgment of conviction would be sufficient to establish Lane's liability.  



                                                                              

The judge asked Lane's attorney for the criminal case number, then said that he would  



                                                                                                                           

send  his  administrative  assistant  to  retrieve  the  file,  and  if  it  confirmed  the  fact  of  



                                                                                                        

conviction he would take judicial notice of it.  Lane's attorney then offered to stipulate  



                                                                                                       

to  his  client's  conviction  for  the  rape  and  assault.                                          The  superior  court  accepted  the  



stipulation and on that basis granted summary judgment to Ballot on the issue of liability,  



a conclusion it later restated in written findings and conclusions.  After taking testimony  



             3           A few days after the status hearing, Lane filed a motion for "consideration   



for hearing," bearing the case number of this case but listing Lane as the plaintiff and   

"Superintendent Debbie Miller[,] Department of Corrections" as the defendant.   It is not   

clear what relief the motion requested; it appears that Lane was asking to be interviewed            

by the police about his claims that four other inmates admitted having "framed [him] into                                          

a life sentence."   



                                                                               - 3 -                                                                        6929
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

and other evidence on Ballot's damages, the superior court entered judgment against  

                                                                                                  



Lane for $149,989.25 plus interest, costs, and attorney's fees.  



                   Lane appeals the grant of summary judgment on liability.  



III.      STANDARDS OF REVIEW  



                   In  reviewing  summary  judgment  orders,  we  apply  our  independent  



                                                                                                                         4  

                                                                                                     

judgment to determine whether there are any genuinely disputed issues of material fact. 



If there are not, we decide de novo whether the moving party is entitled to summary  

                         

judgment as a matter of law. 5  



                   "The applicability of the doctrine of collateral estoppel is a question of law  



                                             6  

subject to independent review."   We therefore review de novo whether the elements of  

                                                      



the  doctrine  are  met.    In  cases  where  collateral  estoppel  is  applied  offensively,  and  



                                                                                                              

especially where mutuality between the parties is lacking, the trial court may decline to  

                                                         7  We review this secondary decision for abuse  

apply the doctrine to avoid unfair results. 

of discretion.8  



          4        M.C. v. N. Ins. Co. of N.Y. , 1 P.3d 673, 674-75 (Alaska 2000).  



          5        Id.  



          6        Rapaport  v.  Tesoro  Alaska  Petroleum  Co. ,  794  P.2d  949,  951  (Alaska  



 1990).   



          7        See Jean Alexander Cosmetics, Inc. v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., 458 F.3d 244,  



247-48 (3d Cir. 2006).   



          8        Harris v. Governale , 311 P.3d 1052, 1057 (Alaska 2013).  



                                                          - 4 -                                                    6929
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

IV.       DISCUSSION  



                                                             

                    A criminal conviction for a serious crime has a collateral estoppel effect in  



                                                                                                       9  

a subsequent civil action relying on the same set of operative facts.   Thus "a criminal  



conviction resulting from a jury trial could be introduced as 'conclusive proof' (rather  

than merely persuasive evidence) 'of the facts necessarily determined.' "10 A criminal  



                                                                                                     

conviction  precludes  relitigation  of  "any  element  of  a  criminal  charge"  for  which  a  

                               11  The doctrine applies regardless of whether the convicted person  

                                           

litigant is convicted.  



                     12                     13 

is the plaintiff         or defendant          in the civil action.  



                    Because  the  superior  court  found  as  an  undisputed  fact  that  Lane  was  



                                             

convicted of crimes based on the same facts alleged in Ballot's civil complaint, it applied  



                                                                                                  

the collateral estoppel doctrine to preclude Lane from contesting his liability for Ballot's  



                                                                                                                    

claims.  In reviewing this summary judgment order de novo, we consider (a) whether the  



                                                                          

court was correct in finding that the conviction was not a genuinely disputed fact, and  



(b) if the conviction was undisputed, whether the court was correct to apply collateral  



                                                                                  

estoppel and grant summary judgment on these facts, given (1) Lane's pending criminal  



                                                                          

appeal, and (2) the jury's verdict that Lane was "guilty but mentally ill."  We hold that  



          9         Scott v. Robertson, 583 P.2d 188, 193 (Alaska 1978).                                A nolo contendere  



or guilty plea has the same effect as a conviction following trial.  Lamb v. Anderson , 147  

P.3d 736, 744 (Alaska 2006). 



          10  

                    Lamb, 147 P.3d at 739 (quoting Scott, 583 P.2d at 193 & n.27).  



          11        Pedersen v. Blythe, 292 P.3d 182, 185 (Alaska 2012).  

                                     



          12  

                                                                                                  

                    See  Howarth  v.  Alaska  Pub.  Defender  Agency,  925  P.2d  1330,  1333  

(Alaska 1996).  



          13  

                                                     

                    See Lamb, 147 P.3d at 742;  Wyatt v. Wyatt, 65 P.3d 825, 831-32 (Alaska  

2003).  



                                                               - 5 -                                                        6929
  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

                                

the fact of conviction was not genuinely disputed and that Ballot was entitled to summary  



judgment on Lane's liability.    



          A.        The Fact Of Lane's Criminal Conviction Was Not Genuinely Disputed.  



                                                                                  

                    Lane argues that the fact of his conviction was genuinely disputed because  



                                                                                      

it  was  not  supported  by  evidence.    We  decide  de  novo  whether  a  genuine  issue  of  

material fact precludes summary judgment,14 and we conclude that Lane's argument  



lacks merit.   



                           

                    It is true that Ballot never produced a certified copy of Lane's conviction  



                                                                          

in support of her motion for summary judgment, as the superior court anticipated she  

               15  But the record clearly shows that Lane's attorney stipulated to the fact of  

                                                                                              

would do.  



conviction when the judge asked his assistant to retrieve the criminal case file, which  

                                                                                                                



meant that the fact of conviction was going to be established in a matter of minutes  



                16  

                    The court's reliance on the attorney's stipulation was not error.  Lane's  

regardless.                                                                   



attorney having formally appeared for him, the attorney was authorized to speak and act  

                                                                                         



          14        M.C. v. N. Ins. Co. of N.Y. , 1 P.3d 673, 674-75 (Alaska 2000).  



          15        Following the superior court's prudent course, we assume arguendo that  



Lane did not authorize the key admissions in his answer and that the fact of conviction  

                                                                

therefore had to be proven independently.   Cf. Darnall Kemna & Co. v. Heppinstall,  

                               

851 P.2d 73, 76 (Alaska 1993) ("The general rule provides that admissions made in the  

                                                                                                                        

pleadings are conclusively established." (citing 9  J 

                                                                             OHN  H.   WIGMORE ,   WIGMORE  ON  

EVIDENCE  2590, at 822 (Chadbourn rev. 1981))).  



          16        Courts may take judicial notice of criminal convictions pursuant to Alaska                     



Rules of Evidence 201 and 203.  See Dale H. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs.,  

Office  of  Children's  Servs.,  235  P.3d  203,  206  n.3  (Alaska  2010)  (taking  notice  of  

               

judgment involving crime of domestic violence, where judgment "is not part of the  

                                                                                                    

appellate  record"  but  "is  not  subject  to  reasonable  dispute  and  is  capable  of  ready  

determination"); Lemon v. State , 522 P.2d 160, 162-63 (Alaska 1974) (upholding the  

judge's authority, in a prosecution for escape, to take judicial notice of the conviction for  

                            

which the defendant was serving his sentence at the time of the escape).   



                                                             - 6 -                                                      6929
  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

             17  

                                                                                                     

for him.         And "admissions of fact by counsel during the course of the trial are binding  



                                                             

on [counsel's] client, if they are made with the express purpose of dispensing with the  



                                                                                         

formal proof of some fact at the trial, and are thus used as a substitute for legal evidence  



                    18  

                                                               

of  the  fact."           That  is  what  occurred  here:    to  spare  the  court  and  the  parties  the  



                                      

momentary diversion of retrieving records that were nearby and readily available, Lane's  

attorney stipulated to a fact he knew could not reasonably be disputed.19  



                                                                                                                      

          B.         Ballot Was Entitled To Summary Judgment On Liability.  



                                                                              

                     Lane also challenges the application of collateral estoppel in this case.  He  



                                    

argues that he had two defenses that he was wrongly precluded from presenting because  



of the superior court's reliance on his criminal conviction to establish his liability on  



                               20  

Ballot's tort claims.              Neither of his arguments has merit.  



          17         See  AS  22.20.040(b)  ("When  a  party  appears  by  attorney,  the  written  



proceedings shall be in the name of the attorney, who is the sole representative of the  

                                                                              

client as between the client and the adverse party."); AS 22.20.050 ("An attorney may  

                                                                                   

. . . bind the attorney's client in any of the proceedings in an action or proceeding by  

                                                                                                                

agreement  filed  with  the  clerk  or  entered  upon  the  journal  of  the  court,  and  not  

otherwise.").  



          18  

                                                                          

                     Beaulieu v. Elliott , 434 P.2d 665, 669 (Alaska 1967) (footnotes omitted).  



          19  

                                                              

                     Even if the superior court had erred by accepting the stipulation, any error  

                                

would be harmless, as the court was prepared to take judicial notice of the conviction  

                                                           

under Evidence Rule 201(d) once the criminal file was brought to the courtroom.  Lane  

                                                                                                               

cannot have been prejudiced by his attorney's stipulation to a fact that was about to be  

established in any event.  



          20         We recognize that Lane did not raise these arguments below in response to  



                                               

Ballot's motion for summary judgment.  Although the arguments could be considered  

waived, we address them because of the unusual circumstances of this case:  not only  

                                  

Lane's current pro se status, but also the on-record disagreements between Lane and his  

attorney about how they should proceed in the superior court.  



                                                                - 7 -                                                         6929
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

                                                                                                           

                    1.	       Lane's pending criminal appeal does not bar the application of  

                              collateral estoppel. 



                                                                                          

                     Lane argues that collateral estoppel should not apply because his criminal  



conviction is on appeal.  But "[a] pending appeal of the criminal conviction 'is irrelevant  



                                                                                   21  

                                                                                       If Lane were to successfully  

for the purposes of res judicata and collateral estoppel.' " 



challenge  his  conviction  in  the  course  of  a  criminal  appeal  or  a  petition  for  post- 



                                                                                   

conviction relief, he is not without remedy in this case; we have repeatedly recognized  



that "a 'motion to vacate any judgment resting on the preclusive effect of the earlier  



judgment following its reversal would provide adequate relief' if an appeal were later  

successful."22  



                    2.	       Lane's  "guilty  but  mentally  ill"  conviction  is  subject  to  the  

                              collateral estoppel doctrine.  



                    Lane  also  argues  that  Ballot  should  not  have  the  benefit  of  collateral  



                                                                                    

estoppel in this case because the jury in his criminal case found him "guilty but mentally  



                                                                                       

ill" rather than simply guilty.  By statute, however, "[a] defendant found guilty but  



                                                                                                              23  

mentally ill is not relieved of criminal responsibility for criminal conduct."                                    



                                                   

                    The law thus creates a clear distinction in mental state between "guilty but  



                                                                                                                     

mentally  ill"  convictions  and  "not  guilty  by  reason  of  insanity"  acquittals.    Under  



AS 12.47.030(a), the "guilty but mentally ill" statute under which Lane was convicted,  



                                                                                

                    [a] defendant is guilty but mentally ill if, when the defendant  

                    engaged in the criminal conduct, the defendant lacked, as a  

                    result of a mental disease or defect, the substantial capacity  



          21        Pedersen v. Blythe , 292 P.3d 182, 185 (Alaska 2012) (quoting  Wyatt v.  



            

 Wyatt, 65 P.3d 825, 831 (Alaska 2003)).  



          22  

                             

                    Id. at 185 n.19 (quoting Wyatt, 65 P.3d at 831); see also Alaska R. Civ. P.  

60(b)(5).  



          23        AS 12.47.030.  



                                                             - 8 -	                                                     6929
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

                                                   

                    either to appreciate the wrongfulness of that conduct or to  

                    conform  that  conduct  to  the  requirements  of  law.    A  

                                                               

                    defendant  found  guilty  but  mentally  ill  is  not  relieved  of  

                                                            

                    criminal responsibility for criminal conduct and is subject to  

                                                                   [24] 

                    the provisions of AS 12.47.050.  



Under AS 12.47.010(d), by contrast, a defendant who asserts insanity as a defense will,  



if successful, receive a "not guilty" verdict; the defendant is acquitted.  To establish the  



                                                                  

insanity  defense  the  defendant  must  show  that  "when  the  defendant  engaged  in  the  



                                                                                         

criminal conduct, the defendant was unable, as a result of a mental disease or defect, to  

appreciate the nature and quality of that conduct."25  



                                                                                                             

                    Thus, in sum, a defendant who is found guilty but mentally ill "lacked . . .  



                       

the substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of [the criminal] conduct  

or to conform that conduct to the  requirements of law,"26 whereas one acquitted by  



                                                                                                                              27  

            

reason of insanity "was unable . . . to appreciate the nature and quality of that conduct." 



                                                                                                             

In an assault case, for example, a defendant who is guilty but mentally ill may know he  



                                                                              

is  assaulting  the  victim  but  either  does  not  know  it  is  wrong  or  cannot  control  his  



          24        The    referenced    statute,    AS           12.47.050,    requires    the    Department   of  



Corrections  to   provide  mental  health  treatment  to  certain  offenders  during  their  

incarceration and mandates that if or when treatment  ends,  the  offenders  must  serve the  

remainder of their sentences.  



          25        AS 12.47.010(a).  



          26        AS 12.47.030(a).  



          27        AS 12.47.010(a)  



                                                             - 9 -                                                       6929
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

              28  

actions.           A defendant who is not guilty by reason of insanity may not even know he is  

assaulting the victim.29  



                                                                                                 

                        The distinction governs this case.  Lane was convicted of sexual assault in  



                            30                                                                31 

                                         

the first degree                and  assault in the second degree.                                 By its "guilty but mentally ill"  



                                                            

verdict,  the  jury  found  beyond  a  reasonable  doubt  that  Lane  knew  (or  should  have  



known, for purposes of the assault conviction) that he was beating and raping another  



person, even if he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.  



                                                                                                                                              

                        The "guilty but mentally ill" verdict on these charges establishes the facts  



                                                                     

necessary to prove Lane's liability in tort.  Ballot's complaint does not specify a cause  



            28          See Lord v. State, 262 P.3d 855, 860-61 (Alaska App. 2011) (explaining   



why mother was properly found guilty but mentally ill when she knew she was killing                                    

her sons but thought she was saving them from evil and sending them to heaven, thus                                                   

failing to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct).  



            29          "An example of a person who could successfully establish the elements of  



                                                                                                                                           

the revised insanity defense is the defendant who, as a result of a mental disease or  

                                                           

defect, is unable to realize that he is shooting someone with a gun when he pulls the  

                                                                           

trigger on what he believes to be a water pistol, or a murder defendant who believes he  

                                       

is attacking the ghost of his mother rather than a living human being."  State v. Patterson,  

740 P.2d 944, 946 n.8 (Alaska 1987) (quoting Commentary & Sectional Analysis for the  

 1982 Amendments to Alaska Law on Criminal Law and Procedure and the Revised  

Criminal Code, House Journal Supp. No. 64 at 4, 1982 House Journal 2318.)  



            30          "Knowingly"  is  the  implied  mens  rea  required  for  a  conviction  under  



AS  11.41.410(a)(1)  (sexual  assault  in  the  first  degree).                                                 To  convict  Lane  under  

        

AS  11.41.410(a)(1), the jury must have found that he knowingly engaged in sexual  

intercourse and recklessly disregarded his victim's lack of consent.  See Reynolds v.  

State, 664 P.2d 621, 625 (Alaska App. 1983).  



            31          "[R]ecklessly"                is     the     mens         rea      required           for     a     conviction            under  



AS       11.41.210(a)(2)                 (assault          in    the      second          degree).           To      convict          Lane        under  

                                                                                                  

AS  11.41.210(a)(2),  the  jury  must  have  found  that  he  "recklessly  cause[d]  serious  

physical injury to another person."  



                                                                          -  10 -                                                                   6929
  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

                                                                               

of action, but as reasonably read it alleges tortious conduct causing physical harm; this  



                                                            

could include assault and battery, civil rape, and other intentional, reckless, or negligent  



acts for which civil liability may be imposed.  In civil cases, "[b]attery occurs when an  



                                               

actor intends to cause harmful or offensive contact with another and an offensive contact  



             32                                                                                              33 

                                       

results";       "one need not intend injury but must intend to cause contact."                                   Intent for tort  

purposes also includes "knowing that the consequence is substantially certain to result."34  



                                                                              

We have defined recklessness for both civil and criminal purposes as "unreasonably  



                                                                                                      35  

disregarding a known risk of substantial physical harm to another."    The jury's verdict  



                                     

of "guilty but mentally ill" on the criminal charges of sexual assault in the first degree  



and  assault  in  the  second  degree  established  beyond  a  reasonable  doubt  that  Lane  



                                                                     

knowingly "engage[d] in sexual penetration with another person without consent of that  

person"36 and that he "recklessly cause[d] serious physical injury to another person."37  



These findings satisfy the elements of several different tort causes of action for which  

Ballot could recover against Lane, including assault and battery and civil rape.38  



          32        Maddox v. Hardy , 187 P.3d 486, 498 (Alaska 2008).
  



          33        DeNardo v. Corneloup , 163 P.3d 956, 960 (Alaska 2007).
  



          34
       See RESTATEMENT (THIRD) OF TORTS  1 (2010).
  



          35        Lamb v. Anderson , 147 P.3d 736, 745 (Alaska 2006).
  



          36
       AS 11.41.410(a)(1).  



          37        AS 11.41.210(a)(2).  



          38        See Pletnikoff v. Johnson, 765 P.2d 973, 979 n.1 (Alaska 1988) (Matthews,       



C.J., dissenting) (stating that "[t]he essential elements of sexual assault in the first degree     

. . . are also the essential elements of the tort of rape").  



                                                              -  11 -                                                        6929
  


----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

                                                                                39  

                     Lane cites Burcina v. City of Ketchikan                        in support of his argument that a   



"guilty but mentally ill" verdict has no collateral estoppel effect.  The plaintiff in                                  Burcina  



                                                    40  

                                                        He then brought a civil suit against his psychiatrist  

pleaded nolo contendere to arson.                                                            



and  treatment  center,  alleging  that  their  negligent  treatment  of  him  "aggravated  his  



                                                                                                                  

mental illness and . . . caused him to set the fire" and they were therefore liable for his  



                                                                                        41  

emotional distress and loss of income while imprisoned.                                     The defendants moved for  



summary judgment on public policy grounds, arguing that the plaintiff's claims were  



                                                                                           42  

                                                                                                 The  plaintiff  argued  in  

barred  because  they  were  based  on  his  own  illegal  acts. 



opposition that there was a disputed fact as to whether he was legally insane at the time  

                                           

of the arson (and if he was, that public policy could not bar his claims).43  

                                                                                                                   



                     We held that collateral estoppel applied and the plaintiff could not relitigate  

                                                                                                                   



his mental state, because the nolo contendere plea required that he admit to the requisite  

       

                                   44   In a phrase Lane points to in his brief, we observed in Burcina  

intent to commit arson.                                                     



that  "had  [the  plaintiff]  wished  to  avoid  these  collateral  consequences  of  his  nolo  



contendere plea, he could have asserted the defenses of either insanity, or mental disease  

                                                                                                      45   Lane urges us to  

or defect, or could have entered a plea of guilty but  mentally ill."                                                



          39         902 P.2d 817 (Alaska 1995)
  



          40        Id. at 819.
  



          41        Id.
  



          42        Id.
  



          43        Id. at 821.  



          44        Id.  



          45        Id. at 822.  



                                                              -  12 -                                                        6929
  


----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

                                       

construe this statement to mean that collateral estoppel cannot be used in cases, like his,  



involving verdicts of "guilty but mentally ill."  



                   Our  discussion  above  indicates  that  a  "guilty  but  mentally  ill"  verdict,  



                              

unlike an acquittal by reason of insanity, does not act to negate criminal intent.  We  



              

disavow any contrary meaning in the dicta Lane quotes from Burcina .  In fact, this case  



and  Burcina  are  similar:    just  as  the  nolo  contendere  plea  in  Burcina  precluded  



relitigation  of  the  mental  state  required  for  the  crime  for  which  the  plaintiff  was  



convicted, so here the "guilty but mentally ill" verdict precludes relitigation of whether  



                                                         

Lane committed the crimes for which he was convicted, and whether, in so doing, he  



acted knowingly and recklessly.  



                   A  more  recent  Indiana  case  parallels  Burcina .    The  court  in Rimert  v.  



                                                      

Mortell considered a case in which a man had been found guilty but mentally ill for four  



murders  in  South  Carolina;  his  mother  then  sued  an  Indiana  psychiatrist  for  having  



                                                                 46  

                                                                     One of the issues on appeal was whether  

negligently released him from in-patient care. 



Indiana  public  policy  prevented  the  defendant  from  recovering  damages  based  on  



                                                                   47  

                                                                       Looking to South Carolina law for the  

conduct for which he was criminally culpable. 



                                                                                            

legal effect of the "guilty but mentally ill" verdicts in that state, the court concluded that  



the defendant's conviction, "despite its misleading label, contemplates complete criminal  



                                            48  

                                                                                         

responsibility for the killings."               The court applied collateral estoppel to the "guilty but  



mentally ill" verdicts, holding that "[t]herefore, [the defendant] may not successfully  



          46       680 N.E.2d 867, 869 (Ind. App. 1997).  



          47       The  Indiana  court   cites  our  decision  in  Burcina  as  one  of  the  cases  



supporting such a public policy.  Id. at 873.  



          48       Id. at 875.  



                                                           -  13 -                                                    6929
  


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  claim that his action should survive the public policy bar because his mental condition  



                                                                           49  

 rendered him not fully responsible for the killings."                          



                   On this issue  Alaska  law is the same as South Carolina's, as the statute  

                                                    



authorizing the "guilty but mentally ill" verdict, AS 12.47.030(a), explicitly states that  



                                                                                                      

"[a] defendant found guilty but mentally ill is not relieved of criminal responsibility for  



criminal conduct."  The jury in the criminal case found that Lane possessed the mental  



                                                                         

state necessary to warrant a conviction; Lane was therefore not relieved of his "criminal  



                                                                                                       

responsibility" despite his mental illness.  We conclude that the "guilty but mentally ill"  



verdict has the same collateral estoppel effect that any other guilty verdict would have.  



                                                                              

The superior court did not err in applying collateral estoppel in its grant of summary  



judgment on the issue of liability.  



V.        CONCLUSION  



          We AFFIRM the judgment of the superior court.  



           49       Id. at 876.  



                                                           -  14 -                                                       6929  

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