J.L. v. State, No. 49A04–1306–JV–297.

Docket NºNo. 49A04–1306–JV–297.
Citation5 N.E.3d 431
Case DateMarch 13, 2014
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

5 N.E.3d 431

J.L., Appellant–Respondent,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee–Plaintiff.

No. 49A04–1306–JV–297.

Court of Appeals of Indiana.

March 13, 2014.


[5 N.E.3d 434]


Joel M. Schumm, Indianapolis, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, Katherine Modesitt Cooper, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.


OPINION

BROWN, Judge.

J.L. appeals the juvenile court's true finding that he committed a delinquent act, which, if committed by an adult, would constitute child molesting, a class C felony. J.L. raises two issues, which we revise and restate as:

I. Whether the court abused its discretion in admitting J.L.'s statement to police; and

II. Whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his adjudication as delinquent.

We affirm.


FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

During the weekend of May 26, 2012, J.L., who was twelve years old, was spending time with his cousins F.R., who was six years old, D.R., and A.R., who were staying the weekend with their father. Following a beach outing, J.L. asked if he could spend the night at the house of the other boys' father, and both fathers agreed. That night, while the boys were watching TV in their father's bedroom, J.L. asked F.R. “do you want to have [a] party,” and F.R. replied “yeah.” Transcript at 11–12. J.L. then asked F.R. if he wanted “to have a gay party,” and F.R. said “no.” Id. at 12. F.R. understood that when J.L. asked to have a gay party, it meant that J.L. wanted to touch F.R.'s “private.” Id. at 18. J.L. then “kept saying yeah ... lets have one,” F.R. continued to watch TV, and J.L. then “touched [F.R.'s] private,” which was a word F.R. used to describe his penis, by placing his hand over F.R.'s clothing and squeezing F.R.'s penis for “one minute.” Id. at 12, 15. J.L. asked “do you like,” and F.R. responded “no.” Id. at 16. Later that night, F.R. attempted to wake his father to tell him what had occurred, but J.L. “grabbed [his] arm and he didn't let [him] go tell [his] dad.” Id. at 17. When F.R. returned to his mother that Sunday he told her what had happened, and she called the police.

On January 14, 2013, Detective Robin Myers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department conducted an interview

[5 N.E.3d 435]

with J.L. regarding the incident. Also present at the interview were J.L.'s mother, who does not speak English, and another officer to interpret for J.L.'s mother. At the outset of the interview, Detective Myers informed J.L. and his mother that they were being video recorded and identified the camera. Detective Myers read the first portion of a Juvenile Waiver form, titled “Warning of Rights,” which provided as follows:

Before we ask you any questions, you must understand your rights.

1. You may have one or both of your parents present.

2. You have the right to remain silent.

3. Anything you say can be used as evidence against you in court.

4. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions, and to have him with you during questioning.

5. If you cannot afford a lawyer and you want one, one will be appointed for you by the court before questioning.

6. If you decide to answer questions now, without a lawyer present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time. You will also the [sic] right to stop answering at any time until you talk to a lawyer.

State's Exhibit 3; State's Exhibit 2 at 23:08–25:52. The other officer translated the Warning of Rights portion in Spanish for J.L.'s mother, and J.L.'s mother was provided with a Spanish-language version of the Juvenile Waiver form. Before reading the Warning of Rights, Detective Myers explained that she would read them and then give J.L. and his mother “time if [they] want to talk together.” State's Exhibit 2 at 22:50–22:58. Also, regarding J.L.'s right to remain silent, Detective Myers explained that if he did not “want to answer [her] questions [ ], [he did not] have to answer,” and J.L. replied that her explanation made sense to him. Id. at 23:50–24:00.


After advising J.L. and his mother of J.L.'s rights, Detective Myers asked J.L. to read aloud the final portion of the Warning of Rights as follows:

My parents and I have read this statement of my rights and it has been read to us, and my parents and I understand what my rights are. My parents and I have been allowed time by ourselves without the presence of a police officer to discuss the waiver of my rights before signing the waiver of rights.

State's Exhibit 3; State's Exhibit 2 at 27:21–27:48. Afterward, Detective Myers asked J.L. and his mother: “Do you [J.L. and his mother] want to talk before we go any further? Because I want to ask him questions about the two other kids. But right now do you two need to talk about anything before we make a decision?” State's Exhibit 2 at 27:57–28:16. Following the interpreting officer's recitation to J.L.'s mother, J.L. and his mother briefly conferred, J.L.'s mother spoke in Spanish, and the interpreter then stated to Detective Myers that “yes, they want to continue.” Id. at 28:43–28:46. Detective Myers then asked J.L. to make sure that he wanted to continue, and J.L. responded “yeah.” Id. at 28:57. J.L. and his mother then signed and dated the Warning of Rights portion of the Juvenile Waiver.1


Detective Myers then presented the second portion of the Juvenile Waiver form,

[5 N.E.3d 436]

titled “Waiver,” to J.L. and had him read the following language aloud:

1. I have read the above rights and I understand and know what I am doing.

2. I have been allowed time to consult with my parents or legal guardian without a police officer present.

3. I expressly waive the above rights and will answer any questions.

State's Exhibit 3; State's Exhibit 2 at 31:59–32:21. Detective Myers then asked J.L. if he wanted to answer questions about the incident, and J.L. replied “um, sure.” State's Exhibit 2 at 32:34. Detective Myers again asked J.L.'s mother if she was “agreeable” to have J.L. speak with her, and J.L.'s mother agreed. Id. at 33:08–33:12. J.L. and his mother signed and dated the waiver portion of the Juvenile Waiver. During the interview, J.L. admitted that he touched F.R.'s penis.


On January 16, 2013, the State alleged J.L. a delinquent child for an act of child molesting, which would be a class C felony if committed by an adult. On April 8, 2013, the juvenile court held a fact-finding hearing in which evidence consistent with the foregoing was presented. During the hearing, J.L.'s counsel objected when the State moved to admit the video recording of the interview as State's Exhibit 2, arguing that a “meaningful consultation” between J.L. and his mother did not occur in violation of Ind.Code § 31–32–5–1(2)(C) because Detective Myers did not exit the room or turn off the video recorder. Transcript at 32. The court admitted State's Exhibit 2 over J.L.'s objection. On April 19, 2013, the court entered a true finding as to one count of child molesting, a class C felony if committed by an adult. On May 29, 2013, the court held a dispositional hearing and ordered that J.L. be placed on probation with the following special conditions: (1) that he complete sexual offender evaluation/counseling; (2) that he abide by a 9:00 p.m. parent-monitored curfew; and (3) that he have no direct or indirect contact with F.R. or unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 13, nor have contact with any other person or place not pre-approved by parents.2

DISCUSSION
I.

The first issue is whether the court abused its discretion in admitting J.L.'s statement to police. The admission and exclusion of evidence is a matter within the sound discretion of the trial court, and we will review only for an abuse of discretion. Wilson v. State, 765 N.E.2d 1265, 1272 (Ind.2002). An abuse of discretion occurs “where the decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances.” Smith v. State, 754 N.E.2d 502, 504 (Ind.2001). “Errors in the admission or exclusion of evidence are to be disregarded as harmless error unless they affect the substantial rights of a party.” Fleener v. State, 656 N.E.2d 1140, 1141 (Ind.1995) (citations omitted).

This issue concerns whether J.L.'s waiver of rights was proper, which is governed by Ind.Code § 31–32–5–1 and which provides:

Any rights guaranteed to a child under the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Indiana, or any other law may be waived only:

* * * * *

(2) by the child's custodial parent, guardian, custodian, or guardian ad litem if:

(A) that person knowingly and voluntarily waives the right;

[5 N.E.3d 437]

(B) that person has no interest adverse to the child;

(C) meaningful consultation has occurred between that person and the child; and

(D) the child knowingly and voluntarily joins with the waiver....

Further, the next section in the Indiana Code, Ind.Code § 31–32–5–2, addresses a child's ability to waive his right to the “meaningful consultation” provided by Ind.Code § 31–32–5–1(2)(C), stating that he may do so if:


(1) the child is informed of that right;

(2) the child's waiver is made in the presence of the child's custodial parent, guardian, custodian, guardian ad litem, or attorney; and

(3) the waiver is made knowingly and voluntarily.

The State bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile received all of the protections of Ind.Code § 31–32–5–1 and that both the juvenile and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights. D.M. v. State, 949 N.E.2d 327, 334–335 (Ind.2011). In reviewing a court's denial of a motion to suppress a confession, we do not reweigh the evidence but instead examine the record to determine whether there is substantial evidence of probative value to support that decision. Id. at 335. We consider any conflicting evidence in a light most favorable to the juvenile court's decision, along with any substantial uncontested evidence. Id. We will uphold the...

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5 practice notes
  • State v. Anderson, Appellate Case No. 25689
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • September 26, 2014
    ...for the child to do so.' Id." Hall at 1307, fn. 3. Similarly, Indiana provides additional protections for minors. See J.L. v. State, 5 N.E.3d 431, 437 (Ind.App. 2014) (discussing juvenile Miranda form, and the requirement that juveniles and parents be allowed to confer prior to waiver of ri......
  • State ex rel. A.A., DOCKET NO. A-4098-16T3
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 31, 2018
    ...and a parent an unsolicited opportunity to confer in private. See 190 A.3d 559 D.M. v. State, 949 N.E.2d 327 (Ind. 2011) ; J.L. v. State, 5 N.E.3d 431, 437 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) ("Consultation can be meaningful only in the absence of police pressure.... Privacy is essential to a meaningful c......
  • Hicks v. State, No. 82A01–1306–CR–256.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 16, 2014
    ...and claims on appeal that the officers were untruthful, we cannot judge the credibility of witnesses or reweigh evidence on appeal. [5 N.E.3d 431]Fuqua, 984 N.E.2d at 713. Thus, the facts of the present case are unlike those in Seibert, and the Indiana cases cited above, where the police ob......
  • S.L. v. State, No. 49A02–1406–JV–377.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 3, 2014
    ...968 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied. S.L. also cites to T.G. v. State, 3 N.E.3d 19 (Ind.Ct.App.2014), trans. denied, and J.L. v. State, 5 N.E.3d 431 (Ind.Ct.App.2014), in support of reversal of his adjudication. However, those cases tend to support S.L.'s adjudication instead. In T.G., we ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • State v. Anderson, Appellate Case No. 25689
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • September 26, 2014
    ...for the child to do so.' Id." Hall at 1307, fn. 3. Similarly, Indiana provides additional protections for minors. See J.L. v. State, 5 N.E.3d 431, 437 (Ind.App. 2014) (discussing juvenile Miranda form, and the requirement that juveniles and parents be allowed to confer prior to waiver ......
  • State ex rel. A.A., DOCKET NO. A-4098-16T3
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 31, 2018
    ...and a parent an unsolicited opportunity to confer in private. See 190 A.3d 559 D.M. v. State, 949 N.E.2d 327 (Ind. 2011) ; J.L. v. State, 5 N.E.3d 431, 437 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) ("Consultation can be meaningful only in the absence of police pressure.... Privacy is essential to a meaning......
  • Hicks v. State, No. 82A01–1306–CR–256.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 16, 2014
    ...and claims on appeal that the officers were untruthful, we cannot judge the credibility of witnesses or reweigh evidence on appeal. [5 N.E.3d 431]Fuqua, 984 N.E.2d at 713. Thus, the facts of the present case are unlike those in Seibert, and the Indiana cases cited above, where the police ob......
  • S.L. v. State, No. 49A02–1406–JV–377.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 3, 2014
    ...968 (Ind.Ct.App.2009), trans. denied. S.L. also cites to T.G. v. State, 3 N.E.3d 19 (Ind.Ct.App.2014), trans. denied, and J.L. v. State, 5 N.E.3d 431 (Ind.Ct.App.2014), in support of reversal of his adjudication. However, those cases tend to support S.L.'s adjudication instead. In T.G., we ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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