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Justices affirm ‘safe harbor’ in Juvenile Mental Health Statute

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Editor's Note: This opinion was originally issued by the Indiana Supreme Court on March 12. It was reissued March 21 due to the addition of attorney Peter D. Todd to the list of attorneys for the appellee.

A juvenile sex offender’s statements in a polygraph test during probation that he molested two more children may not form the sole basis to prove delinquency, the Indiana Supreme Court held Friday in affirming a trial court and rejecting the state’s appeal.

Justices unanimously held that the Legislature did not intend to allow juveniles’ statements in therapy to be used against them when lawmakers in 2007 passed the Juvenile Mental Health Statute, I.C. 31-32-2-2.5.

“We construe that statute to confer both use immunity and derivative use immunity, in order to avoid a likely violation of the constitutional privileges against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and Article 1, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution,” Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the court. “We therefore affirm the trial court.”

In State of Indiana v. I.T., 20S03-1309-JV-583, Rush wrote that the trial court gave the state an opportunity to introduce evidence derived from I.T.’s statements, yet the state pursued no independent concurrent investigation. “(H)ere, the majority of the evidence in the probable-cause affidavit was precisely what even a narrow view of the Statute forbids — I.T.’s statements during court-ordered therapy. And the State concedes that the remainder of the allegations are entirely derived from those statements. In each respect, I.T.’s statements made during court-compelled therapy were improperly used against him.

“… (W)hile the Juvenile Mental Health Statute limits the State’s use of a juvenile’s statements, it does not prevent the state from ensuring that juveniles face appropriate consequences for their actions,” Rush wrote.

“We conclude that the State may appeal a juvenile court order that suppresses evidence, if doing so terminates the proceeding. We also construe the Juvenile Mental Health Statute’s limited immunity as prohibiting both use and derivative use of a juvenile’s statements to prove delinquency — a safe harbor that honors the Legislature’s intent, while avoiding any question of the Statute’s constitutionality that would otherwise be implicated.”


 

 

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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