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Father’s confession shouldn’t have been admitted at trial

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a father’s conviction of child molesting related to his daughter, finding his confession, which was admitted into evidence at trial, was obtained in violation of Miranda protocol.

Detectives from Carroll and White counties went to Ryan Bean’s Lafayette home to speak with him about molestation allegations made by his daughter, H.B., and his niece, M.S. But police told Bean that they wanted to speak with him about an investigation into possession of child pornography. Bean agreed to go to the Lafayette Police station to speak about the child pornography allegations and “something else.” He was not arrested at this time.

He was at the station for more than an hour when police switched their interrogation from the pornography investigation to the claims made by his daughter and niece. Bean had already signed his Miranda rights waiver and was informed he could leave the building if he wanted. Several times, Bean asked about needing a lawyer, and he said he wanted to have a lawyer. The detectives did not stop questioning and eventually Bean confessed to molesting the girls.

He was charged in Carroll County with three counts of Class A felony child molesting of H.B. He was charged in White County with one count of Class A felony child molesting of H.B. The trials involving M.B. are not at issue on appeal. Bean tried to suppress his confession, which was denied. He was convicted in Carroll County of just one count, and convicted in White County on the count charged.

The Court of Appeals found itself in agreement with the 7th, 10th and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in that although the giving of Miranda warnings should not automatically render a suspect in custody, neither should the giving of such warnings be irrelevant in deciding whether one was in custody.

The judges concluded that Bean was in custody when he finally confessed, even if he was not formally arrested at the time, and even if he had been technically told he was free to leave the station at any time and not speak with police, Judge Michael Barnes wrote in Ryan E. Bean v. State of Indiana, 91A02-1109-CR-906.

Bean was taken to the station by police, the officers who spoke to him at his house didn’t tell Bean the real reason they wanted to speak with him, and the questioning in this case was aggressive and lengthy. The crucial factor indicating Bean was in custody was that he had been advised of his right to remain silent and have an attorney, he invoked those rights, and police continued questioning him anyway.

The appellate court rejected the state’s claims that Bean did not unambiguously invoke his right to counsel or that the trial court admittance of the confession was a harmless error. The judges reversed Bean’s convictions in both counties. The state may retrial Bean if it so chooses.

 

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  • Life time of Pain
    Because of the stupidity of the police station, a young girl is never going to get the justice she deserves. How do they think she is going to go on in life know that some one could get away with hurting her. And since he was acquitted the stupid law is probly not going to keep him away from her, only for her to endure more abuse.

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    1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

    2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

    3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

    4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

    5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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