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Kids in custody must be read Miranda

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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Everyone being taken into custody must be advised of the Miranda rule, no matter what age the person is, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals in overturning a nine-year-old child's adjudication as a delinquent child.

In C.L.M. v. State of Indiana, 35A05-0706-JV-342, C.L.M., appealed the ruling that he was a delinquent child for committing what would have constituted as a Class C felony child molestation if it was committed by an adult, arguing he was never read his Miranda rights while being interviewed in custody.

C.L.M.'s mother, Sheila, found him and his three-year-old sister, A.B., lying on top of each other, with stomachs touching. A.B. had her pants down to her knees and C.L.M.'s pants were down at his thighs; both still had on underwear. The mother saw the children "in motion," did not see their "private areas touching," and immediately pulled the children apart.

The mother brought her children to the Child Advocacy Center for an interview, and Sheila informed a caseworker and police detective what she had seen. Detective Mel Hunnicutt interviewed C.L.M. alone twice; the boy said it was A.B.'s idea that they "hump," later admitted he initiated the contact, and that he touched his sister's crotch with his hand.

The State filed a petition alleging delinquency, stating C.L.M. was a delinquent child for committing what would have been a Class C felony for child molestation if he were an adult. C.L.M's attorney attempted to suppress C.L.M.'s testimony on grounds he was in custody and not read his Miranda rights. The court denied the motion to suppress and issued an order adjudicating C.L.M. as a delinquent child.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, citing no one disputes the fact C.L.M. did not receive the Miranda warning nor was he given the opportunity to speak to his mother before answering questions. Even though C.L.M. was not under arrest and free to go at any time, he was never told that by the detective. Because the boy was in custody, he should have been given a Miranda warning.
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  1. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  3. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  5. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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