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Police questioning gets conviction booted a second time

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The child molesting conviction of a Lafayette man has again been overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals because of problems with statements he made to police.

Ryan Bean was convicted in 2010 of Class A felony child molesting for abusing his daughter, H.B. That conviction was thrown out when the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled his confession was obtained in violation of Miranda rights.

Bean went voluntarily with Carroll and White county detectives to the Lafayette police station under the impression he was going to be questioned in connection with an investigation about child pornography. When the questioning turned to allegations made by his daughter, Bean invoked his right to counsel but the police did not honor his request.

During his retrial, the prosecutor called White County Sheriff Patrick Shafer to testify. Defense counsel objected, noting the admission of Bean’s interview at the first trial caused the second trial.

The trial court also expressed concern that even by narrowly questioning Shafer about the investigation process, the prosecutor could give the jury the impression that Bean said something to police. This, in turn, could penalize Bean for invoking his right against self-incrimination.

The prosecutor proceeded and asked Shafer about the pretrial investigation methods.

Bean appealed, asserting the prosecutor committed misconduct by having Shafer testify and by reinforcing in his closing arguments the vouching testimony from H.B.’s mother and the Indiana Department of Child Services investigator.

Like the trial court, the Court of Appeals found Shafer’s testimony punished Bean for exercising his Miranda rights.

“But most importantly, Sheriff Shafer’s testimony invited the jurors to speculate about what occurred during his interview with Bean – it implied either that he interviewed Bean and that Bean was silent or that Bean spoke during the interview but for some unknown reason, jurors were not permitted to hear what he said,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the court. “Both implications were improper – a prosecutor may not make a statement that a jury may reasonably interpret as an invitation to draw an adverse inference from a defendant’s silence … and this Court had already held that Bean’s Fifth Amendment rights were violated during his pretrial interview, making the substance of this interview inadmissible.”

The Court of Appeals found Bean was denied a fair trial and reversed his conviction in Ryan E. Bean v. State of Indiana, 91A02-1310-CR-912. In a footnote, the court stated Bean may be retried.   
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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