Jones v. State, No. 868

Docket NºNo. 868
Citation252 N.E.2d 572, 253 Ind. 235
Case DateDecember 05, 1969

Page 572

252 N.E.2d 572
253 Ind. 235
Morris Lee JONES, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 868 S 127.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Dec. 5, 1969.

[253 Ind. 237]

Page 573

Bruce R. Snyder, G. Stanley Hood, Fort Wayne, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Murray West and Mark Peden, Deputy Attys. Gen., for appellee.

ARTERBURN, Judge.

Appellant was charged by indictment with the crime of murder while attempting to perpetrate a robbery. [253 Ind. 238] He was tried by a jury and found guilty of first degree murder in the commission of a felony.

The facts are than on May 12, 1967, the deceased, Everett Bechtel, was working as a bartender at Pete and Beck's Tavern in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Independent evidence shows that approximately ast closing time, 12:30 a.m., an eyewitness who was across the street in a cafe heard a noise like a popgun and when he looked up he saw two men standing on the steps of the tavern. Another man came running out of the tavern. The three then fled. The decedent was found dead, lying near the door, with shotgun wounds. It was apparent that he had been engaged in closing up the business, as the cash drawer containing money was open. The appellant in a confession admitted that prior thereto he and two other men had planned the robbery of the tavern at closing time; that they had come to the door and one of them asked to buy a bag of potato chips. A bag of potato chips was found near the door on the floor following the killing. The appellant stated he had used a shotgun belonging to his father-in-law. The shotgun of the father-in-law was found hidden in a garage, where the appellant had stated it could be found.

The two main contentions on appeal are that the appellant, prior to his confession, was not given adequate warning under Miranda v. Arizona (1966), 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, and that there was not sufficient evidence independent of the confession to prove-the corpus delicti of the crime charged.

On May 17, 1967, appellant was questioned at the Fort Wayne Police Station. Detective Sergeant James Andrews testified that he informed appellant that:

'He was advised that he had the right to remain silent; that anything he did say

Page 574

could and would be used against him in Court; he had the right, advised he had the right to call an attorney; he had the right to have an attorney present at that time if he wishes; if he did not have the funds to hire an attorney the Court would appoint one for him. He was [253 Ind. 239] advised that if he did decide to answer questions and talk to us that he had the right to stop at any time he wished.'

In addition to the above warning, the state introduced as evidence exhibit 31 in the trial court, which was entitled 'Your Rights' 'Fort Wayne Police Department' and which contained the following information:

'YOUR RIGHTS

'FORT WAYNE POLICE DEPARTMENT

PLACE Station

DATE 5--17--17

TIME 2 P.M.

Before we ask you any questions, you must understand your rights. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. 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. You have this right to the advice and presence of a lawyer even if you cannot afford to hire one. We have no way of giving you a lawyer but one will be appointed for you, if and when you go to court and the court finds that you are a pauper. If you wish to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time. You also have the right to stop answering questions until you talk to a lawyer.

WAIVER

I have read the statement of my rights shown above. I understand what my rights are. I am willing to answer questions and make a statement. I do not want a lawyer. I understand and know what I am doing. No pressure of any kind has been used against me.

SIGNED /S/ Morris Jones

WITNESS /S/ Sgt. Raymond Chambers

WITNESS /S/ Sgt. James Andrews

TIME 2 P.M.

H 4060

(Our emphasis)

[253 Ind. 240] Testimony by Detective Sergeant Andrews further revealed that when a copy of the above quoted form was given to the appellant and while he was holding it, another identical copy was read to him, word for word.

'Q. And after this was read to him what did he say, if anything?

'A. He said he understood it.'

The waiver statement was then read to appellant, upon the completion of which he signed it. The document was then admitted into evidence without objection.

The appellant was questioned and then returned to his home after being asked to

Page 575

return to the police station the next day. On May 18, 1967, appellant returned to the police station and was shown the rights paper and again informed verbally as to his rights. He was advised that he had the right to remain silent; that anything that he said could and would be used in Court; that he had the right to call an attorney; that he had the right to have an attorney present at that time before he answered any questions. He was also advised that if he could not afford an attorney that the Court would appoint one for him and that if he decided to answer questions and go ahead and talk that he could stop at any time he wished.

The appellant was again asked if he understood and replied that he did. Appellant was then informed he was under arrest for the charge of preliminary homicide. Thereafter, appellant recited to the police officers how he, Johnny Rouse and Larry Henderson had attempted to rob Pete and Beck's tavern pursuant to a plan they had formulated the night before. The plan called for appellant to ask for a bag of potato chips as a pretense to gain entry. The confession was sufficient to implicate appellant in the attempted robbery of the tavern.

After appellant finished his narrative of the events surrounding the attempted robbery of the tavern and the subsequent death of Everett Becktel, he was asked if he would be willing to give the police a written statement concerning the facts he had just verbally given them. He said he would. The [253 Ind. 241] written statement contained the following questions and answers preliminary to the statement itself.

'Q. Do you understand your constitutional rights, that is, that you are entitled to consult an attorney; that you are not compelled to make a statement; that anything you say may be used either for or against you in court?

'A. Yes.'

Appellant contends that the confession should not have been admissible as evidence in the trial court. The reasons appellant gives for this contention are:

1. The advice given appellant by the Fort Wayne Police Department was inadequate under the standards laid out in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, in that Miranda requires that the accused person be informed that if he cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning. Appellant contends the advice given by the police was to the effect that the appellant would be appointed an attorney if and when he went to court and the court determined he was a pauper.

2. The advice given by the police to appellant with reference to his constitutional rights was not coupled with the requisite explanations necessary for a person of his low intelligence, reading ability, and lack of experience with the police. The effect of this advice, absent the necessary explanation, cannot result in a warning under Miranda, since appellant contends, there could be no intentional relinquishment of his constitutional rights without this explanation.

3. It is further submitted that the wording at the end of the statement signed by appellant to the effect that if he were an indigent, an attorney would be furnished to him, was ambiguous, in that it was not explained at that time what the word 'indigent' meant, or at what stage an attorney would be appointed, and further, this pronouncement was contradictory in the fact of the statements printed on [253 Ind. 242] the rights waiver and read to appellant by police officers, to the effect that if appellant could not afford to hire a lawyer, one would be appointed for him if and when he went to court and was found to be a pauper.

We agree with appellant's statement of the law that Miranda requires the accused

Page 576

to be informed that he has the right to have an attorney present during the interrogation. Fendley v. United States (1967 C.A. 5th Cir.), 384 F.2d 923.

However, the warning here given appellant did not inform him only of his right to have an attorney appointed by the court. Twice in the above quoted testimony of Detective Sergeant Andrews appellant was told that 'he had the right to have an attorney present at that time if he wished.' The verbal warnings given appellant were sufficient to inform him that he had the right to have an attorney present and that if he was 'without funds', the court would appoint an attorney for him. This sufficiently satisfies the criteria expressed by Miranda.

The appellant's blind contention that the statements by the police led him to believe that counsel would only be appointed for him in court, was similar to the contention in the case of Coyote v. United States (1967 C.A. 10th Cir.), 380 F.2d 305. The court affirmed the conviction and held that the accused was adequately informed of his rights under Miranda.

It seems to us in this case the warning given the appellant was extensive. It is true that he was told that he could not have a lawyer until he appeared in court, but at the same time he was plainly told he need not answer any questions until he got the lawyer. Although he might not have understood the term 'indigent', at one place however, he was told if he was 'without funds' he could have a lawyer.

Coyote v. United States (1967 C.A. 10th Cir.), 380 F.2d 305, also contains guidelines to be used in determining whether[253 Ind. 243] the words used were adequate to inform the...

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  • Ballard v. State, No. 1174S224
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 12, 1974
    ...State, supra; Green v. State, (1973) Ind.App., 304 N.E.2d 845; Hopkins v. State, (1973) Ind.App., 296 N.E.2d 151; Jones v. State, (1969) 253 Ind. 235, 252 N.E.2d 'Regardless of order of proof the State more than adequately sustained its obligation. Before introducing testimony relative to B......
  • State v. Bishop, No. W2010–01207–SC–R11–CD.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • March 6, 2014
    ...State v. Carwise, 846 So.2d 1145 (Fla.2003) (per curiam); Willoughby v. State, 552 N.E.2d 462, 466 (Ind.1990) (citing Jones v. State, 253 Ind. 235, 252 N.E.2d 572, 578–80 (1969)); People v. McMahan, 451 Mich. 543, 548 N.W.2d 199, 201 (1996); State v. Dow, 168 Wash.2d 243, 227 P.3d 1278, 128......
  • Collins v. State, CR-14-0753
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • October 13, 2017
    ...there is no requirement that all of the elements of the crime be proven prior to introduction of the confessions. See Jones v. State, 253 Ind. 235, 249, 252 N.E.2d 572, 580 (1969) ('it is not necessary to make out a prima facie case as to each element of the crime charged nor is it necessar......
  • Green v. State, No. 2--1072A72
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 27, 1973
    ...v. State (1973 Ind.Ct.App.) 296 N.E.2d 151. The distinction observed in Hopkins v. State, supra, was detailed in Jones v. State (1969) 253 Ind. 235, 244, 252 N.E.2d 572, 'Although the use of corpus delicti as part of the proof in a criminal case had its origin as a cautionary measure in our......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
60 cases
  • Ballard v. State, No. 1174S224
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • November 12, 1974
    ...State, supra; Green v. State, (1973) Ind.App., 304 N.E.2d 845; Hopkins v. State, (1973) Ind.App., 296 N.E.2d 151; Jones v. State, (1969) 253 Ind. 235, 252 N.E.2d 'Regardless of order of proof the State more than adequately sustained its obligation. Before introducing testimony relative to B......
  • State v. Bishop, No. W2010–01207–SC–R11–CD.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • March 6, 2014
    ...State v. Carwise, 846 So.2d 1145 (Fla.2003) (per curiam); Willoughby v. State, 552 N.E.2d 462, 466 (Ind.1990) (citing Jones v. State, 253 Ind. 235, 252 N.E.2d 572, 578–80 (1969)); People v. McMahan, 451 Mich. 543, 548 N.W.2d 199, 201 (1996); State v. Dow, 168 Wash.2d 243, 227 P.3d 1278, 128......
  • Collins v. State, CR-14-0753
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • October 13, 2017
    ...there is no requirement that all of the elements of the crime be proven prior to introduction of the confessions. See Jones v. State, 253 Ind. 235, 249, 252 N.E.2d 572, 580 (1969) ('it is not necessary to make out a prima facie case as to each element of the crime charged nor is it necessar......
  • Green v. State, No. 2--1072A72
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 27, 1973
    ...v. State (1973 Ind.Ct.App.) 296 N.E.2d 151. The distinction observed in Hopkins v. State, supra, was detailed in Jones v. State (1969) 253 Ind. 235, 244, 252 N.E.2d 572, 'Although the use of corpus delicti as part of the proof in a criminal case had its origin as a cautionary measure in our......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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