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Trial court should not have admitted statement to detective

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found the Vanderburgh Circuit Court abused its discretion in admitting at trial statements a defendant made to a police detective.

Moise Joseph was convicted of Class A felony burglary resulting in serious bodily injury, Class B felony attempted armed robbery, and Class B felony criminal confinement for his role in a home invasion. Police came to his apartment to investigate the robbery after discovering his car was parked in a Sonic Drive-In lot near the home that was robbed.

An apartment complex manager let officers into Joseph’s home, where they handcuffed him, read him his Miranda rights, and asked him where he was earlier in the morning, when the home invasion occurred. Joseph said he was approached by two men about buying an Xbox gaming system for $5. After going to the police station, Joseph was again read his Miranda rights and again repeated his statement about the Xbox, but denied being involved in the robbery.

At trial, Joseph moved to suppress all evidence recovered in his apartment as well as his statements to police. The Circuit Court suppressed all evidence recovered from the apartment as well as his statements made to police at his apartment, but denied the motion with respect to the statement made to detective Ron Brown at the station.  

The state conceded that the warrantless entry into Joseph’s home “may have well been without” probable cause and there weren’t any exigent circumstances to overcome the presumption of unreasonableness.

In Moise Joseph v. State of Indiana, 82A05-1108-CR-387, the appellate judges determined that Joseph’s statements to Brown were not sufficiently attenuated to dissipate any taint of the illegal search. While he was read his Miranda rights, Joseph was in constant police custody from the time to police officers initiated the illegal search of his apartment and he was aware their search resulted in the discovery of potentially relevant evidence, Judge Cale Bradford wrote.

He also made prior potentially incriminating statements to the police officers at his apartment, so the COA concluded that Joseph’s comments to the detective weren’t sufficiently attenuated from the apartment search to dissipate any taint of illegal police conduct.

 

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