Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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At issue was whether multiple felony convictions are authorized by Ind. Code 35-44.1-3-1 where a single act of resisting law enforcement while operating a vehicle causes the death of one person and serious bodily injuries to two other people. Defendant was convicted of multiple counts of felony resisting law enforcement. The felony convictions varied in levels - one conviction was a level three felony while two others were level five felonies. The Supreme Court reversed on two level five felony resisting law enforcement convictions and affirmed as to the remaining convictions, holding that Indiana’s resisting law enforcement statute, section 35-44.1-3-1, authorizes only one felony conviction - the highest chargeable offense - where a single act of resisting causes death and serious bodily injury. View "Edmonds v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue was whether a defendant can be convicted of multiple felony resisting law enforcement charges when those charges stem from a single incident of resisting. Defendant pleaded guilty to three felony counts of resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle with methamphetamine in his blood causing serious boldly injury. On appeal, Defendant argued that Indiana’s resisting law enforcement statute, Ind. Code 35-44.1-3-1, authorizes only one conviction for each act of resisting, and therefore, the trial court erred when it entered three convictions and sentences against him. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that section 35-44.1-3-1 authorizes only one conviction for felony resisting law enforcement where the defendant engages in a single act of resisting while operating a vehicle that causes multiple deaths. View "Paquette v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgments of the lower courts dismissing Defendant’s charge of voluntary manslaughter. In dismissing the charge, both of the lower courts found (1) the Criminal Rule 4(C) period within which to bring Defendant to trial had expired, and the delays in bringing him to trial were not attributable to Defendant; and (2) the prosecutorial misconduct in this case required dismissal. The Supreme Court remanded for the trial court to hold a hearing or proceed to trial, holding (1) the delays associated with Defendant’s interlocutory appeal and motion for change of judge were attributable to Defendant, and therefore, he was not entitled to a discharge pursuant to Rule 4(C); and (2) State v. Taylor, 49 N.E.3d 1019 (Ind. 2016), applies in this case, and outright dismissal is not the appropriate remedy for the State’s misconduct. View "State v. Larkin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court summarily affirmed the parts of the opinion of the court of appeals that addressed and rejected J.R.’s challenge to a pat-down search and remanded to the juvenile court to vacate the delinquency adjudication for carrying a handgun without a license (CHWOL) and affirmed the delinquency adjudication for dangerous possession of a firearm, as all parties agreed that double jeopardy principles precluded J.R.’s dual adjudications. The juvenile court found sixteen-year-old J.R. delinquent for committing acts that would be dangerous possession of a firearm and CHWOL, had they been committed by an adult. On appeal, J.R. argued that a pat-down search violated his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches. The court of appeals concluded that the pat-down search was constitutional but that J.R.’s adjudication for CHWOL should be vacated on double jeopardy grounds. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "J.R. v. State" on Justia Law

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The trial court did not err in admitting Defendant’s incriminating statements made in a motel room during the course of a custodial interrogation without an electronic recording of those statements. Defendant was charged with and convicted of several drug crimes. On appeal, Defendant argued that two post-Miranda self-incriminating statements he made to officers in a motel room should not have been admitted into evidence because no electronic recording of the statements was made available at trial, as required by Ind. R. Evid. 617. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a motel room, as used by law enforcement in this case to carry out an undercover investigation and to search a suspect incident to his arrest, is not a place of detention as defined by Rule 617. View "Fansler v. State" on Justia Law

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Custodial interrogation for purposes of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), at public schools requires police involvement, and so when school officials alone meet with students Miranda warnings are not required. After D.Z. was called into the office of the assistant principal of a high school he confessed to writing sexual graffiti on the school’s boys-bathroom walls. The State filed a delinquency petition alleging that D.Z. committed criminal mischief and harassment. The juvenile court found that D.Z. had committed criminal mischief. The Supreme Court reversed, finding that D.Z.’s statements to the assistant principal should have been suppressed because D.Z. was under custodial interrogation. The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and affirmed the criminal-mischief adjudication, holding that D.Z. was not entitled to Miranda warnings because he was interviewed only by a school official - not by police. View "D.Z. v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was when public school students are entitled to Miranda warnings at school. B.A., who was thirteen years old, was escorted from a school bus and questioned in a vice-principal’s office in response to a bomb threat on a bathroom wall. Three officers wearing police uniforms hovered over B.A. and encouraged him to confess. B.A. moved to suppress the evidence from his interview, arguing that he was entitled to Miranda warnings because he was under custodial interrogation and officers failed to secure waiver of his Miranda rights under Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute, Ind. Code 31-32-5-1. The juvenile court denied the motion and found B.A. delinquent for committing false reporting and institutional criminal mischief. The Supreme Court reversed B.A.’s delinquency adjudications, holding (1) B.A. was in police custody and under police interrogation when he made the incriminating statements; and (2) therefore, B.A.’s statements should have been suppressed under both Miranda and Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute. View "B.A. v. State" on Justia Law

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Because Defendant’s affirmative actions at trial resulted in a violation of his right to an impartial jury, the invited-error doctrine required that Defendant’s conviction be affirmed. After a second trial, Defendant was found guilty of murder. During trial, defense counsel expressly agreed to the trial court’s constitutionally defective procedure for removing and replacing a juror after deliberations had begun. On appeal, Defendant argued that, despite his acquiescence, the court’s procedure violated his constitutional right to an impartial jury, thus resulting in reversible error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there is no reason to exempt structural errors from the invited-error doctrine; and (2) Defendant invited the error in this case as part of a deliberate trial strategy, and therefore, his conviction must be affirmed. View "Durden v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision to uphold the rulings of magistrates that issued a warrant to conduct a thermal-imaging search of a private residence and a warrant to search the physical premises, holding that probable cause supported both warrants. After conducting an investigation to corroborate an anonymous tip of a potential marijuana grow operation at a private residence, the police received a warrant to conduct a thermal-imaging search of the home. The evidence discovered in the search led the police to request the second warrant to search the premises. The search led to Defendant’s conviction for dealing in marijuana and marijuana possession. On appeal, Defendant argued that both warrants lacked probable cause based on uncorroborated hearsay in the underlying affidavits. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence in the first affidavit to corroborate the tipster’s allegation of criminal activity; and (2) the second affidavit contained sufficient information to establish probable cause under the collective-knowledge doctrine. View "McGrath v. State" on Justia Law

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Indiana’s post-conviction rules did not allow Petitioner to bring a challenge to a statute barring him, as a serious sex offender, from school property in a post-conviction proceeding because Petitioner was challenging a collateral consequence of his conviction instead of his conviction or sentence. In 2010, Petitioner pleaded guilty to child solicitation. Petitioner’s probation conditions made schools off-limits, but Petitioner received an exception for his son’s activities. In 2015, Indiana Code 35-42-4-14 made it a Level 6 felony for a “serious sex offender” to knowingly or intentionally enter school property, which resulted in Petitioner being forced to stop attending school events. Petitioner sought post-conviction relief, arguing that the new statute was an unconstitutional ex post facto law. The post-conviction court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the post-conviction rules excluded Petitioner’s claim, but they did not foreclose a declaratory-judgment action. View "Kirby v. State" on Justia Law