Nacoff v. State

Decision Date05 March 1971
Docket NumberNo. 269S37,269S37
Citation267 N.E.2d 165,256 Ind. 97
PartiesLarry Steven NACOFF, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

Henry P. Schrenker, Public Defender, Anderson, for appellant.

Theodore Sendak, Atty. Gen., Murray West, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

DeBRULER, Judge.

This is an appeal from a conviction for inflicting injury during a robbery in violation of I.C. 1971, 35--13--5--6, being Burns § 10--4101. Trial was by jury in the Madison Circuit Court and appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Appellant's first contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in admitting in evidence State's Ex. 'A', a statement of appellant, because there was no showing that appellant freely and intelligently waived his constitutional right to remain silent.

Appellant was charged with robbing a gas station attendant on December 1, 1967, and while engaged in that robbery of inflicting stab wounds on the attendant. Appellant was arrested in Marion County on January 28, 1968, in the early morning hours, as a suspect in connection with a robbery that had occurred the night before. Appellant was taken to a state police post where he was read the standard state police advisement of his rights and appellant signed the waiver form. However, no statement was obtained from appellant at that time.

At 8:30 a.m. on January 28, the appellant was taken to the Madison County jail and placed in a special cell in the basement called 'the boards'. This cell was 6 by 3 , with a commode and a wash basin with only cold water. Appellant was alone and never allowed out of this cell except to be questioned. He was fed in that cell and had no shower facilities, warm water, and no mattress for the first one and a half days. The sheriff testified that it was very unusual to permit a mattress in that cell. This was obviously a cell used for punishing disobedient prisoners or temporarily confining berserk arrestees.

On January 28, at 10:00 a.m. Detective Hart of the state police questioned appellant twice after he had been placed in the Madison County jail. At this time appellant was under arrest without warrant for a robbery committed on January 27. Hart testified concerning the advisement of rights he gave appellant prior to questioning him and for purposes of this case we assume it was adequate. According to Hart he told appellant that the victim of the December 1 crime had identified him and that appellant would feel better if he cleared them both up. Hart told appellant he would pass along to the prosecuting attorney any information that appellant had cooperated with the authorities. Hart knew appellant had been an inmate at Logansport State Hospital several times and that appellant had been released from Logansport on the 27th. He told appellant he would help him get psychiatric help for appellant. Hart said he did not promise appellant any immunity. Appellant denied having anything to do with the crime and did not give Hart any statement.

The sheriff testified that he talked to appellant at least a couple of times in the next few days. At 12:30 a.m. on February 2, appellant signed the statement which was admitted at trial as State's Ex. 'A'. Just prior to appellant giving the statement the deputy sheriff taking the statement read to appellant a full and adequate advisement of his rights and a waiver printed at the top of the sheet on which appellant's statement was typed. Appellant then signed that statement.

Since the advisement of rights was adequate, the only issue is whether appellant intelligently and voluntarily waived his rights and made the statement. Miranda v. Arizona (1966), 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694.

A heavy burden rests on the appellee to demonstrate that the appellant intelligently and voluntarily waived his right to remain silent and to consult with appointed counsel. Miranda v. Arizona, supra. The legal standard to be applied in determining whether an accused, who has been properly advised of his rights and has signed a waiver, has voluntarily waived his rights is the same as that used in the pre-Miranda coerced confession cases. The question is whether, looking at all the circumstances, the confession was free and voluntary, and not induced by any violence, threats, promises, or other improper influence. Brady v. United States (1970), 397 U.S. 742, 90 S.Ct. 1463, 25 L.Ed.2d 747; Haynes v. State of Washington (1963), 373 U.S. 503, 83 S.Ct. 1336, 10 L.Ed.2d 513; Rogers v. Richmond (1961), 365 U.S. 534, 81 S.Ct. 735, 5 L.Ed.2d 760; Bram v. United States (1897), 168 U.S. 532, 18 S.Ct. 183, 42 L.Ed. 568; Hall v. State (Ind., (1971), 266 N.E.2d 16; Smith v. State (1969), Ind., 249 N.E.2d 493; Sparks v. State (1967), 248 Ind. 429, 229 N.E.2d 642.

We hold that the record clearly shows that the State did not carry its burden of showing that the appellant intelligently and voluntarily waived his right to remain silent and to consult with counsel. The evidence which shows this is as follows:

(1) Appellant was twenty-three years old, had never completed his second year of high school, and had been committed to a mental hospital several times. This latter fact was known to the police. Appellant was confined in a 6 by 3 cell without warm water or shower facilities for four and a half days; he left this cell only to be interrogated. Immediately upon confessing appellant was transferred to a cell block of his own choosing and allowed to shower.

(2) Shortly after being placed in the cell appellant was questioned by a state police detective who told appellant that he had been identified in the robbery on December 1, 1967; he was under arrest for a robbery on January 27, 1968; the detective would pass on any information to the prosecutor that appellant had cooperated; the detective would help him get psychiatric help. Appellant denied any knowledge of the crime.

(3) Appellant was held absolutely incommunicado for four and a half days prior to his giving the statement. Appellant was not taken promptly before a magistrate as required by law. I.C. 1971, 35--1--7--1; 35--1--8--1; 35--4--1--1; 9--4--1--130; 18--1--11--8; 18--4--12--16, being Burns §§ 9--701; 9--704; 9--704a; 47-- 2307; 48--6112; 48--9416; Pearman v. State (1954), 233 Ind. 111, 117 N.E.2d 362.

In Miranda v. Arizona, supra, the United States Supreme Court said:

'Whatever the testimony of the authorities as to waiver of rights by an accused, the fact of lengthy interrogation or incommunicado incarceration before a statement is made is strong evidence that the accused did not validly waive his rights.'

This Court has held in the past that the fact that the statement was obtained during this period of illegal detention may be considered on the issue of the admissibility of the statement. Krauss v. State (1951), 229 Ind. 625, 100 N.E.2d 824.

The purpose of this hearing before a magistrate is threefold: (1) Advise the arrestee of the charges against him; (2) Advise the arrestee of his constitutional rights; (3) Provide arrestee with an attorney if arrestee was without funds to hire one; (4) Determine whether there is sufficient evidence that the crime charged has been committed and that the accused committed it. Fulks v. State (1970), Ind., 262 N.E.2d 651, (DeBruler, dissenting.)

If the sheriff had complied with the law, appellant would not have been held incommunicado for four and a half days under the conditions described here. Appellant would have had counsel right away who could have explained to him at length and in detail what charges were pending against him, the penalties for those crimes, how many charges there...

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  • Magley v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • 21 Octubre 1975
    ...intelligent, as they would to demonstrate the State's failure to show that the confession was voluntary. As we said in Nacoff v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 97, 267 N.E.2d 165: 'A heavy burden rests on the (State) to demonstrate that the appellant intelligently and voluntarily waived his right t......
  • Dommer v. Crawford
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    ...rel. French v. Hendricks Superior Court, 247 N.E.2d 519 (Ind.) (1969); Kinnaird v. State, 242 N.E.2d 500 (Ind.) (1968); Nacoff v. State, 267 N.E.2d 165 (Ind.) (1971), where it was held that an arrestee should be taken promptly before a magistrate, pursuant to I.C. 18-1-11-8 (within twenty-f......
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    ...Williams v. State, 264 Ind. 664, 348 N.E.2d 623, 626-27 (1976) (holding sixty-eight-hour detention illegal); Nacoff v. State, 256 Ind. 97, 267 N.E.2d 165, 168 (1971) (holding four-and-one-half-day detention illegal); Blatz v. State, 175 Ind.App. 26, 369 N.E.2d 1086, 1088-89 (1978) (holding ......
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    ...not through inducement, violence, threats or other improper influences so as to overcome the free will of the accused. Nacoff v. State (1971), 256 Ind. 97, 267 N.E.2d 165. The question of voluntariness is one for the trial court. A ruling on admissibility will not be disturbed on appeal whe......
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