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Ohio woman’s incriminating statements properly suppressed

December 29, 2014

An Ohio woman charged with murder and other crimes in Ripley County prevailed in the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday when the judges affirmed the grant of her motion to suppress incriminating statements she gave to police.

Allison Moore was charged with felony murder, Class B felony burglary and Class B felony conspiracy to commit burglary after she was implicated in the robbery of a Cross Plains, Indiana, man and the murder of a Milan, Indiana, woman at her home. Moore was arrested at her Ohio home and met with Indiana State Police Detectives Tom Baxter and Vince Patton.

After being read her Miranda rights, Moore told detectives she didn’t want to talk to the police. Then, ISP Sgt. Anthony Scott entered the room and asked Moore about the four children she was babysitting at the time of her arrest. He was trying to determine the children’s parents. Moore, becoming agitated, then asked for Baxter because he was nice to her. After he asked her a little about the children, Moore then asked what the other defendants were saying about her. She then made incriminating statements about the incidents without being re-Mirandized.

Her motion to suppress was before the COA on interlocutory appeal in State of Indiana v. Allison Moore, 69A01-1405-CR-186


The state argued that questioning immediately stopped once Moore revoked her right to silence, but Moore claimed the state’s argument is an invitation to reweigh the evidence. The appeals court agreed with Moore, pointing out Patton did not immediately stop his questioning of Moore, as he asked her who she was with the previous weekend.

The judges also found that Scott’s questioning about the children did not fall under the community-caretaking function, as there was no indication the children were in immediate danger and it is unclear what Indiana police officers could do about children who lived in Ohio.

The questioning of Moore about the children by Scott and Baxter amounted to interrogation, which was pursued despite Moore’s clear invocation of her right to silence, Judge Cale Bradford wrote, so there was no error in granting her motion to suppress the incriminating statements.

 

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