Investigators’ interview tactics merit suppression, COA affirms

A prosecutor and detective who questioned a woman who was later charged in a child molesting investigation may not use any of her statements after she said wanted to be taken home, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, rejecting an appeal by the state.

Indiana State Police Det. Troy Cobb picked up April D. Glaze from her home and drove her 25 miles to the Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office in April 2018 for questioning by investigator David Meadows. Glaze, who is cognitively impaired, went with Cobb with the understanding that the detective would return her home afterward.

“Twenty-four minutes into the interview, Glaze stated, ‘I just want to get this over with Dave … I want to go back home.’ … Meadows indicated they intended to take her home, but they instead continued to question her” for another hour with several breaks, Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote. The interview stopped at the point Glaze asked for a lawyer, after which the detective took her back home.

In July 2018, Glaze was charged with several felonies, including child molesting and promotion of human trafficking of a minor. She filed a notice of insanity defense and later a motion to suppress all statements she made during the investigation of the case.

While she was found competent to stand trial, the Putnam Circuit Court granted in part her motion to suppress, finding any statements Glaze made after she asked to be taken home were inadmissible. The state appealed the suppression order, but the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in State of Indiana v. April D. Glaze, 19A-CR-1735.

After Glaze asked to be taken home, Sharpnack wrote, “(Meadows) said, ‘I intend to take you back home. But we’re gonna – we’re going to get this entire thing out. Because I’m not gonna have six or seven or eight conversations with you. Are you Troy?’ … Troy responded, ‘Nope.’

“A minute later, Meadows and Cobb took a short break and then resumed questioning Glaze. About thirty minutes later, Meadows and Cobb took another break. While Glaze was alone in the room, she was in an emotional state and stated, ‘They won’t take me home.’ She next stated out loud she would just tell them she was done with the questioning.”

The panel cited to Risinger v. State, 137 N.E.3d 292, 295 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019), trans. denied, in which Joshua Risinger’s murder conviction was reversed when statements he made after he told police “I’m done talking” were admitted.

“The interrogation ultimately ended when Glaze specifically requested an attorney, but by that point Glaze had already unequivocally expressed an intent to end the questioning. The officers rejected her request to be taken home, stating that they were going to finish up the questioning that day,” Sharpnack wrote. “We conclude that the officers failed to ‘scrupulously honor’ Glaze’s exercise of her right to remain silent, as described in Risinger, and the trial court did not err in suppressing statements Glaze made after she stated that she wanted to end the questioning and go home.”

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