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Admission of the videotaped confession constitutes fundamental error

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The true finding that a juvenile committed an act that would constitute the offense of attempted burglary, a class B felony, was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the trial court made a fundamental error in admitting into evidence the juvenile’s videotaped confession.

However, in R.W. v. State of Indiana, No.49A02-1112-JV-1187, the COA remanded with instructions for the trial court to enter a true finding of criminal mischief.  

R.W., the juvenile, was caught by a homeowner after he broke a window and tried to reach through the shattered glass to lift the window. The homeowner knew R.W. and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department found the juvenile, took him to a roll call location for an interview, and contacted his mother.

The juvenile and his mother were given a waiver-of-rights form which they signed incorrectly. In the ensuing recorded interview, R.W. admitted that he attempted to break into the house in order to steal Xbox games.

The state filed a delinquency petition in conjunction with this incident alleging that R.W. had committed acts that would constitute the offenses of burglary as a class B felony and criminal mischief as a class B misdemeanor if committed by an adult.

When the state sought to introduce R.W’s videotaped confession, the juvenile objected on the grounds that neither he nor his mother was asked as to each individual right if they understood the consequences of giving those up.

On appeal, R.W. claimed the confession was inadmissible because the waiver form does not indicate that his mother waived R.W.’s rights. He acknowledged he objected to the introduction of the confession on different grounds for the appeal than he did at trial, but he argued the admission constituted a fundamental error.

The Court of Appeals agreed, finding the only evidence supporting the true finding of attempted burglary is the videotaped confession. The court concluded the trial court committed fundamental error in admitting R.W.’s videotaped confession and the true finding must be reversed.

However, the court did find sufficient evidence exists to establish the remaining elements of burglary which also constitute every element of the offense of criminal mischief.

 

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  • Constitution
    What a joke, where was the evidence without a video? The courts seem to think that they can violate a persons constitutional rights but still claim they are guilty and still convict without evidence! WAKE UP AMERICA All it takes for tyranny to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. It's time for all Americans to standup and speak up! MUST READ ARTICLES The Infallible Prosecutor: Google it 10,000 innocent people convicted each year Scalia's death row lunacy: Google it Most registered sex offenders are innocent www.wikipedia.org Type censorship in the U.S. in the search box Jury nullification, a fundamental right! Indiana Constitution: Article1 Section 19 In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts. The 9th and 10th amendments to the constitution of the United States means the same thing. An unjust law is not a law at all and any person charged with violating an unjust law has not violated any law and should not be found guilty simply because the law is unjust! IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR RIGHTS YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WE MUST PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTIONS

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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