Benton v. State, No. 479S93

Docket NºNo. 479S93
Citation401 N.E.2d 697, 273 Ind. 34
Case DateMarch 21, 1980
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 697

401 N.E.2d 697
273 Ind. 34
James Ewell BENTON, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 479S93.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
March 21, 1980.

[273 Ind. 35] Charles L. Berger, Evansville, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Gordon R. Medlicott, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

GIVAN, Chief Justice.

Appellant was convicted of burglary, conspiracy to commit a felony and of being an habitual criminal. He was sentenced to

Page 698

concurrent terms of five years on the burglary and conspiracy counts and to a term of 30 years on the habitual criminal count, to be served consecutively with the first two penalties. Because we find prejudicial error in the first issue raised by appellant, we must reverse the conviction and order a new trial.

Appellant and two companions were taken into custody by the Mount Vernon police on the morning of October 14, 1977, as suspects in a burglary of Culley's Drug Store. Upon arrival at the police station an oral statement was obtained as to how appellant helped perpetrate the robbery and where the stolen drugs had been discarded. Appellant alleges on appeal that this statement and the recovered drugs should have been suppressed. We agree.

At the station appellant was read his rights from a waiver of rights form by officer Don Petty. Appellant stated that he understood his rights but that he "didn't want to say anything at that time." Petty did not question appellant further. Shortly thereafter, appellant was taken to the office of the Chief of Police. Again he was read his rights and the waiver-of-rights statement from the form. Again he refused to sign the form, stating in response to a question by Chief Wilfred Clark that he did not want to make a verbal or written statement. Clark then wrote "refused" on the signature line of the form and printed appellant's name below the line. Appellant however continued to converse with the police officers and the officers proceeded to interrogate the appellant. During this interrogation, appellant told them where the drugs could be recovered. Chief Clark sent two officers to retrieve the drugs while he [273 Ind. 36] continued to question appellant. Eventually he elicited from appellant a statement of how the burglary of the drugstore was perpetrated. Appellant's pre-trial motion to suppress the drugs and testimony as to his oral confession to Chief Clark was overruled. The evidence was admitted at trial over his objection.

In Brown v. State (1971) 256 Ind. 558, 270 N.E.2d 751, this Court was presented with a similar factual situation. There Brown had refused to sign a waiver of rights form stating he wanted to talk to a lawyer. Later, upon questioning, he admitted to his part in the crime. Citing Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, we reversed, stating:

"According to police testimony appellant was advised of his rights on two different occasions by two different officers and both times appellant refused to sign a waiver of his rights. Since the advisement of rights and the waiver were read to appellant at the same time we must presume that if appellant understood what his rights were he also understood the meaning...

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19 practice notes
  • Kindred v. State, No. 285S67
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 8 d3 Junho d3 1988
    ...cases cited therein; Green v. State (1984), Ind., 461 N.E.2d 108; Fyock v. State (1982), Ind., 436 N.E.2d 1089; Benton v. State (1980), 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697. The existence of probable cause cannot be confined to the facts within the firsthand knowledge of the arresting officer. As we......
  • Bates v. City of Ft. Wayne, Ind., No. F 79-173
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 19 d1 Dezembro d1 1983
    ...N.E.2d 1109 (Ind.1982). See also Suggs v. State, 428 N.E.2d 226 (Ind.1981); Owens v. State, 427 N.E.2d 880 (Ind.1981); Benton v. State, 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697 This court, applying the Harlow test to the facts of this case, concludes the defendant police officers proceeded with good fai......
  • Averhart v. State, No. 1182S414
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 29 d1 Outubro d1 1984
    ...N.E.2d 1089; Battle v. State, (1981) Ind., 415 N.E.2d 39; Taylor v. State, (1980) 273 Ind. 558, 406 N.E.2d 247; Benton v. State, (1980) 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697. Averhart's claim seems to be that it was improper to admit this evidence over a pending motion to suppress when Defendant obje......
  • Roberts v. Hochstetler, Civ. No. F 82-33.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 12 d1 Setembro d1 1983
    ...N.E.2d 1109 (Ind.1982). See also Suggs v. State, 428 N.E.2d 226 (Ind.1981); Owens v. State, 427 N.E.2d 880 (Ind.1981); Benton v. State, 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697 (1980). Therefore, McCutcheon was entitled to rely on fellow Officer Hochstetler's report about the plaintiff in reaching his c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Kindred v. State, No. 285S67
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 8 d3 Junho d3 1988
    ...cases cited therein; Green v. State (1984), Ind., 461 N.E.2d 108; Fyock v. State (1982), Ind., 436 N.E.2d 1089; Benton v. State (1980), 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697. The existence of probable cause cannot be confined to the facts within the firsthand knowledge of the arresting officer. As we......
  • Bates v. City of Ft. Wayne, Ind., No. F 79-173
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 19 d1 Dezembro d1 1983
    ...N.E.2d 1109 (Ind.1982). See also Suggs v. State, 428 N.E.2d 226 (Ind.1981); Owens v. State, 427 N.E.2d 880 (Ind.1981); Benton v. State, 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697 This court, applying the Harlow test to the facts of this case, concludes the defendant police officers proceeded with good fai......
  • Averhart v. State, No. 1182S414
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 29 d1 Outubro d1 1984
    ...N.E.2d 1089; Battle v. State, (1981) Ind., 415 N.E.2d 39; Taylor v. State, (1980) 273 Ind. 558, 406 N.E.2d 247; Benton v. State, (1980) 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697. Averhart's claim seems to be that it was improper to admit this evidence over a pending motion to suppress when Defendant obje......
  • Roberts v. Hochstetler, Civ. No. F 82-33.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • 12 d1 Setembro d1 1983
    ...N.E.2d 1109 (Ind.1982). See also Suggs v. State, 428 N.E.2d 226 (Ind.1981); Owens v. State, 427 N.E.2d 880 (Ind.1981); Benton v. State, 273 Ind. 34, 401 N.E.2d 697 (1980). Therefore, McCutcheon was entitled to rely on fellow Officer Hochstetler's report about the plaintiff in reaching his c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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