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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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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