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COA finds man initiated communication with detective

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress an incriminating statement to a detective because the defendant initiated the discussion and understood his Miranda rights before speaking.

In Brian Scott Hartman v. State of Indiana, No. 68A01-1106-CR-264, Brian Scott Hartman was in jail on burglary charges when a sheriff’s detective asked Hartman about his father. Hartman requested to speak with an attorney, so questioning stopped. The next day, detective Tom Pullins executed two search warrants of Hartman’s property and found the body of the father. Pullins went to the jail to read the search warrants to Hartman and ask if he had any questions. Hartman indicated he wanted to speak to detectives, was advised of his Miranda rights, and Hartman waived his rights and made an incriminating statement about his involvement in his father’s death.

Hartman tried to have the statement suppressed at his trial for murder and Class C felony assisting suicide, but the trial court denied it.

On interlocutory appeal, the COA couldn’t find an Indiana case directly on point with this issue and relied on State v. Person, 104 P3.d 976, 980-83 (Idaho Ct. App. 2004), to affirm the lower court. The facts are similar in the Person case, in which the trial court concluded that police had not re-initiated the interrogation, but had appropriately contacted Person to inform him of the charges he faced by reading an arrest warrant to Person.

As in Person, Pullins didn’t re-initiate the interrogation. Hartman initiated further communication by asking whether the search warrant had been served and whether anything had been found. Hartman then told Pullins he wanted to speak with him and waived his Miranda rights before making the statement. Thus, the trial court didn’t err in denying Hartman’s motion to suppress.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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