ILNews

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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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