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Defendant’s argument should be made to rules committee

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In affirming the denial of a man’s motion to suppress statements he made to an officer at a gas station, the Indiana Court of Appeals pointed out that his arguments pertaining to Indiana Evidence Rule 617 would be better presented to the Evidence Rules Review Committee.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Steven Ferklic found Steven Steele slumped unconscious in his Jeep, which was stopped near an intersection with three flat tires and the engine off. Eventually, Steele awoke, and Ferklic arrested him for misdemeanor public intoxication. Ferklic took Steele to a nearby gas station to administer field sobriety tests on a more level surface. He read Steele his Miranda rights, after which Steele admitted he had driven the Jeep.

The officer then took Steele to a police station to administer more tests, which Steele failed. He was then charged with various misdemeanor and felony drunken-driving counts.

Steele sought to have his statements made to Ferklic at the gas station suppressed based on Ind. Evidence Rule 617, which says evidence of a statement made by someone during a custodial interrogation in a place of detention shall not be admitted against the person unless an electronic recording of the statement was made, with a few exceptions. Steele claims Ferklic violated this rule by not transporting him to a “place of detention” to record his statement.

“Two observations are in order. One, Evidence Rule 617 does not apply in this case because Officer Ferklic’s interrogation of Steele did not occur in a Place of Detention. And two, the rule does not, either explicitly or implicitly, impose an affirmative duty on law enforcement officers to transport a person to a Place of Detention before conducting a Custodial Interrogation. Steele’s policy arguments for imposing such a duty should be directed to the Evidence Rules Review Committee, which may recommend to the Indiana Supreme Court that the rule be amended accordingly,” Judge Terry Crone wrote in Steven B. Steele v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1202-CR-54.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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