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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. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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