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Court upholds suppression of mentally ill man’s confession

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Citing an inadequate Miranda warning and the mental illness a murder suspect has, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of the defendant’s motion to suppress confessions that he murdered two women. 

Indianapolis Police detective Michael Mitchell went to the New Castle Correctional Facility to interview DeAngelo Banks regarding a lead on DNA evidence. Mitchell was unaware that Banks has schizo affective disorder, that he was medicated at the time, and that, per a psychologist’s testimony, Banks had been “out of it” during that period he was interviewed.

Mitchell gave Banks a Miranda warning that did not clearly explain when Banks could request an attorney, and Banks agreed to talk. He confessed to killing two women in Indianapolis. He said he was under the influence of drugs and he’s been psychologically tormented.

Based on his testimony, the state charged Banks with murder in two separate cases. He filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court granted.

“Here, the trial court considered the evidence presented of Banks’s mental illness, heard Banks’s own testimony and came to the conclusion that his statement was not voluntary, and under our standard of review, we are bound to give this determination deference,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote in State of Indiana v. DeAngelo Banks, 49A02-1303-CR-235.

“We are therefore confronted with an inadequate Miranda warning to an undeniably and seriously mentally ill suspect who was in the area of the Newcastle Correctional Facility where the mentally ill are housed apart from the general prison population, who was involuntarily medicated at the time and in restraints even during the interrogation at issue. Yet, despite these compelling and compromising facts and circumstances, the State chose to interview Banks, and secured the confession we now review.

“There is substantial evidence supporting the trial court’s decision, and its decision is not contrary to law. Given our deferential standard of review, we affirm the trial court’s determination that Banks’s confession should be suppressed,” she wrote.
 

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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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