COA: Statements not made in illegal detention

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a defendant's motion to suppress statements given to authorities while detained, finding he was legally detained because police already had probable cause to arrest him.

In Alton Moss v. State of Indiana, No. 27A04-0805-CR-257, Alton Moss was charged with felony murder and conspiracy to commit robbery while armed with a deadly weapon following the murder of Jamie Smith at his home in Grant County. A witness mentioned Moss' name as a person inside the home at the time of the murder. Months later, a Grant County inmate told police Moss confessed to killing Smith while attempting to rob him of marijuana, and the grandfather of one of Moss' children told police Moss had made incriminating statements about the Smith killing.

After Moss' fiancee told police Moss had told her he and his brother tried to steal drugs from a man, who was shot, police arrested Moss on an outstanding body attachment from a civil case in Howard County. Police didn't tell Moss or his fiancee that there was also a body attachment in a different matter on Moss in Grant County. Police told the fiancee she couldn't post bond in the Howard County matter. Afterwards, Moss signed a waiver of his Miranda rights and gave his version of what happened at Smith's home.

After he was charged, Moss filed a motion to suppress his statements, arguing they were given during an illegal detention, he gave them involuntarily, and Miranda violations made them inadmissible. The trial court denied the motion, but granted his order for interlocutory appeal only on the grounds of the legality of his detention.

The Court of Appeals found some merit in Moss' argument that he was illegally detained because his fiancee tried to post bond before he was questioned but wasn't able to, and that neither of them were aware of the Grant County body attachment and bond until after he was interrogated. The detective who told Moss' fiancee she couldn't post bond was misleading, but the fiancee never questioned why she couldn't post bond nor did she try to post it elsewhere, wrote Judge Patricia Riley. Plus, there's no evidence Moss invoked his right to offer bail.

"In any event, we need not determine the legality of Moss' detention vis-a-vis the two body attachments and bonds, because we agree with the State that the police had an independent basis on which to hold Moss: probable cause to arrest Moss for his involvement in the crimes against Smith," she wrote.

The police had probable cause based on the testimony of several people linking Moss to the crime even before Moss gave his statements while detained.

The appellate court remanded the cause to the trial court for further proceedings and noted that if he is convicted, he could raise his other two issues on appeal.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.