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.



  • 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 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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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise