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Justices affirm ‘safe harbor’ in Juvenile Mental Health Statute

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Editor's Note: This opinion was originally issued by the Indiana Supreme Court on March 12. It was reissued March 21 due to the addition of attorney Peter D. Todd to the list of attorneys for the appellee.

A juvenile sex offender’s statements in a polygraph test during probation that he molested two more children may not form the sole basis to prove delinquency, the Indiana Supreme Court held Friday in affirming a trial court and rejecting the state’s appeal.

Justices unanimously held that the Legislature did not intend to allow juveniles’ statements in therapy to be used against them when lawmakers in 2007 passed the Juvenile Mental Health Statute, I.C. 31-32-2-2.5.

“We construe that statute to confer both use immunity and derivative use immunity, in order to avoid a likely violation of the constitutional privileges against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and Article 1, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution,” Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the court. “We therefore affirm the trial court.”

In State of Indiana v. I.T., 20S03-1309-JV-583, Rush wrote that the trial court gave the state an opportunity to introduce evidence derived from I.T.’s statements, yet the state pursued no independent concurrent investigation. “(H)ere, the majority of the evidence in the probable-cause affidavit was precisely what even a narrow view of the Statute forbids — I.T.’s statements during court-ordered therapy. And the State concedes that the remainder of the allegations are entirely derived from those statements. In each respect, I.T.’s statements made during court-compelled therapy were improperly used against him.

“… (W)hile the Juvenile Mental Health Statute limits the State’s use of a juvenile’s statements, it does not prevent the state from ensuring that juveniles face appropriate consequences for their actions,” Rush wrote.

“We conclude that the State may appeal a juvenile court order that suppresses evidence, if doing so terminates the proceeding. We also construe the Juvenile Mental Health Statute’s limited immunity as prohibiting both use and derivative use of a juvenile’s statements to prove delinquency — a safe harbor that honors the Legislature’s intent, while avoiding any question of the Statute’s constitutionality that would otherwise be implicated.”


 

 

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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