Buchanan v. State, No. 78A01-0806-CR-284.

Docket NºNo. 78A01-0806-CR-284.
Citation913 N.E.2d 712
Case DateJanuary 23, 2009
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana
913 N.E.2d 712
Robert BUCHANAN, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 78A01-0806-CR-284.
Court of Appeals of Indiana.
January 23, 2009.

[913 N.E.2d 714]

Leanna Weissmann, Lawrenceburg, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, Ann L. Goodwin, Special Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

CRONE, Judge.


Case Summary

Following a bench trial, Robert Buchanan appeals his convictions for class B felony robbery, three counts of class B felony criminal confinement, three counts of class C felony intimidation, two counts of class D felony false reporting, and class D felony theft. Buchanan also challenges the appropriateness of his twenty-year sentence. We affirm his robbery conviction and sentence and vacate the remaining convictions on double jeopardy grounds.

Issues

I. Was Buchanan in custody for Miranda purposes when police officers interrogated him at his home?

II. Do Buchanan's convictions violate double jeopardy principles?

III. Is Buchanan's sentence inappropriate?

Facts and Procedural History

The relevant facts are undisputed. On the morning of January 18, 2007, Buchanan drove his Jeep Cherokee from his Vevay home to Warsaw, Kentucky, and used a pay phone to call in false bomb threats to Indiana's Switzerland County High School and Jefferson-Craig Elementary School. Both schools were evacuated. Buchanan returned home and drove a red Ford Tempo that he had covered with black plastic and tape to the Mainsource Bank in East Enterprise, Indiana. Wearing a ski mask and brandishing a twelve-gauge shotgun, Buchanan entered the bank and ordered the three employees to put money in a duffel bag. The employees retrieved $37,851 in cash from the vault and placed it in the bag. Buchanan told the employees that he knew where they and their families lived and that if they told anyone he would "come back and hurt them." Tr. at 323. Buchanan ordered the employees to lie on the floor and left the bank. Buchanan

913 N.E.2d 715

drove the car into a barn near his home, removed the black plastic and tape, and changed clothes. He then drove home and removed tape residue from the car. He also burned the duffel bag, clothes, plastic, and tape, and hid the stolen money.

Police traced the source of the bomb threats to the Warsaw payphone and identified Buchanan's Jeep Cherokee from security camera footage of the area. Sometime after dark on January 19, 2007, Indiana State Police Detectives Mike Black and Thomas Baxter went to Buchanan's home to investigate the bomb threats. The detectives parked their unmarked cars in Buchanan's driveway and walked toward the back door. Neither detective was in uniform, and neither was visibly armed. Buchanan exited the house and greeted them in the yard. Buchanan knew Detective Baxter, who introduced him to Detective Black. The three men entered Buchanan's mud room. Detective Baxter said that he wanted to talk to Buchanan. Buchanan agreed to do so. Detective Baxter offered Buchanan "a seat in [his] car for privacy[.]" Id. at 98. Buchanan put on his shoes, walked outside, opened the door of Detective Baxter's car, and sat in the front passenger's seat. Detective Black sat behind him, and Detective Baxter sat in the driver's seat.

Detective Baxter told Buchanan that he was not under arrest and that he just wanted to talk to him. Buchanan "said that he understood that and that was fine." Id. at 100. Detective Baxter also told Buchanan that he was free to leave the car at any time. Buchanan "seemed not to have any trouble understanding that." Id. The detectives talked with Buchanan for approximately thirty minutes. During that time, Detective Baxter took a taped statement from Buchanan, who admitted to making the bomb threats. Buchanan said that he had made the threats so that his daughter could be dismissed from school and spend time with him. Unprompted, Buchanan said that he was not involved in the bank robbery.

After Buchanan gave his statement, the detectives asked if they could inspect the vehicles on his property. Buchanan assented and showed them his vehicles. The detectives saw the Jeep Cherokee involved in the bomb threats but did not see a vehicle that matched the description of the car involved in the bank robbery. Thereafter, the detectives left the property.

Around noon the next day, Detective Baxter and Detective Stan Tressler went to Buchanan's home in Detective Baxter's unmarked car. Neither detective was in uniform, and neither was visibly armed. The detectives parked in Buchanan's driveway. Buchanan emerged from his barn and met them in the yard. Detective Baxter told Buchanan that he "wanted to talk a little bit more and would that be okay." Id. at 114. Buchanan said, "Sure." Id. Detective Baxter suggested that they talk in his car, and Buchanan "said that would be fine." Id. at 115. Buchanan sat in the front passenger's seat, Detective Tressler sat behind him, and Detective Baxter sat in the driver's seat.

Detective Baxter told Buchanan that he was not under arrest, and Buchanan said that he understood. Detective Baxter also told Buchanan that he was free to leave. Detective Baxter broached the subject of Buchanan's denial of involvement in the bank robbery. At that point, members of Buchanan's family arrived on the property, and Detective Tressler exited the car to talk with them. Buchanan asked Detective Baxter, "[I]f I did do this, would you take me to jail, what would I be charged with?" Id. at 118. Detective Baxter replied that if Buchanan confessed to the robbery, he would be arrested and charged with various felonies. Eventually, Buchanan

913 N.E.2d 716

sighed and said, "I want to talk to my family and then I will tell you what you want to know." Id. at 119.

Detective Baxter and Buchanan exited the car. Buchanan walked toward his family members, who were waiting in his barn about a hundred feet away. Buchanan spoke with them and returned to the car. Detective Baxter offered to continue the conversation in the car. Buchanan replied, "[L]et's just go in the house and [sit] at the table." Id. at 121. Buchanan invited the detectives inside and offered them something to drink. The detectives and Buchanan sat in the kitchen, and his family sat in an adjoining room. Detective Baxter recorded his conversation with Buchanan, who acknowledged that he was not under arrest and that his statements were voluntary. Buchanan said, "Hopefully me cooperating with you ought to give me good consideration ... [f]or my mistakes." Id. at 311. He gave a detailed account of the bomb threats and the robbery and once again acknowledged that his statements were voluntary. He executed a consent for a search of his property, which yielded the stolen money, the shotgun used in the robbery, and other evidence of the crimes.

The State charged Buchanan with the following eleven counts: class B felony robbery, three counts of class B felony criminal confinement, three counts of class C felony intimidation, three counts of class D felony false reporting, and class D felony theft. Buchanan filed a motion to suppress his statements to the detectives and any evidence obtained as a result thereof. The trial court denied Buchanan's motion, and this Court denied Buchanan's request for an interlocutory appeal.

Buchanan waived his right to a jury trial. Before trial, the court granted the State's motion to dismiss one of the false informing counts. On March 7, 2008, the court found Buchanan guilty as charged. The court entered judgment of conviction and imposed concurrent maximum sentences on all counts, for an aggregate term of twenty years.

Discussion and Decision
I. Custodial Interrogation

In Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a law enforcement officer questions a person who has been "taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way," the person must first "be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed." 384 U.S. 436, 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). During their two encounters with Buchanan, the detectives did not advise him of these rights before they questioned him.

Generally, statements elicited in violation of Miranda are inadmissible in a criminal trial. King v. State, 844 N.E.2d 92, 96 (Ind.Ct.App.2005). Buchanan sought to exclude his statements to the detectives and evidence obtained as a result thereof on the basis that the statements were obtained in violation of his Miranda rights. The trial court admitted the statements and the evidence over Buchanan's objections. Buchanan claims that the trial court erred in doing so. Our standard of review is well settled:

The admission of evidence is within the broad discretion of the trial court. Accordingly, we will reverse a trial court's ruling on the admissibility of evidence only if the trial court abused its discretion. An abuse of discretion will be found if the decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court.

913 N.E.2d 717

Pearson v. State, 870 N.E.2d 1061, 1064 (Ind.Ct.App.2007) (citations omitted), trans. denied.

A law enforcement officer's duty to give Miranda warnings does not attach unless a defendant has been subjected to custodial interrogation. King, 844 N.E.2d at 96. It is undisputed that Buchanan was subjected to interrogation; the issue is whether Buchanan was in custody when he gave his statements.1 In Payne v. State, we explained that

Miranda warnings apply only to custodial interrogation because they are meant to overcome the inherently coercive and police dominated atmosphere of custodial interrogation. To be in custody for purposes of Miranda, the defendant need not be placed under formal arrest. Rather, the custody determination turns...

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24 practice notes
  • Hines v. State, No. 52S05–1408–CR–563.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 19 Mayo 2015
    ...act of pushing the officer constitutes just one criminal conviction. The defendant urges that this Court should follow Buchanan v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712, 720–21 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied, where the Court of Appeals extended the continuous crime doctrine to vacate two distinct chargea......
  • Dewald v. State, No. 20A03-1010-CR-541
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 19 Enero 2012
    ...in terms of time, place, singleness of purpose, and continuity of action as to constitute a single transaction." Buchanan v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712, 720 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009). The continuous crime doctrine does not seek to reconcile thePage 31double jeopardy implications of two distinct charg......
  • Dilts v. State, No. 15A01–1412–CR–545.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 31 Diciembre 2015
    ...sentenced, it cannot be said that the court abused its discretion in choosing to rely on the analysis set forth in Buchanan [v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied ].” (Dilts's Reply Br. 8). We disagree.[49 N.E.3d 632 [50] In Hines , our supreme court disagreed with Bucha......
  • Koch v. State , No. 82A01–1004–CR–154.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 2 Diciembre 2011
    ...to a single chargeable crime and prevents the State from charging a defendant twice for the same continuous offense. Buchanan v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712, 720 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied. This doctrine “essentially provides that actions that are sufficient in themselves to constitute sepa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • Hines v. State, No. 52S05–1408–CR–563.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 19 Mayo 2015
    ...act of pushing the officer constitutes just one criminal conviction. The defendant urges that this Court should follow Buchanan v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712, 720–21 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied, where the Court of Appeals extended the continuous crime doctrine to vacate two distinct chargea......
  • Dewald v. State, No. 20A03-1010-CR-541
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 19 Enero 2012
    ...in terms of time, place, singleness of purpose, and continuity of action as to constitute a single transaction." Buchanan v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712, 720 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009). The continuous crime doctrine does not seek to reconcile thePage 31double jeopardy implications of two distinct charg......
  • Dilts v. State, No. 15A01–1412–CR–545.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 31 Diciembre 2015
    ...sentenced, it cannot be said that the court abused its discretion in choosing to rely on the analysis set forth in Buchanan [v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied ].” (Dilts's Reply Br. 8). We disagree.[49 N.E.3d 632 [50] In Hines , our supreme court disagreed with Bucha......
  • Koch v. State , No. 82A01–1004–CR–154.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 2 Diciembre 2011
    ...to a single chargeable crime and prevents the State from charging a defendant twice for the same continuous offense. Buchanan v. State, 913 N.E.2d 712, 720 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied. This doctrine “essentially provides that actions that are sufficient in themselves to constitute sepa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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