Smith v. State, No. 2-878A264

Docket NºNo. 2-878A264
Citation400 N.E.2d 1137
Case DateFebruary 21, 1980
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 1137

400 N.E.2d 1137
Reginald SMITH, Appellant (Defendant Below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).
No. 2-878A264.
Court of Appeals of Indiana, Second District.
Feb. 21, 1980.

Page 1138

Ernie S. Burke, Indianapolis, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., Joel Schiff, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

BUCHANAN, Chief Judge.

CASE SUMMARY

Defendant Reginald Smith (Smith) appeals his conviction for armed robbery, challenging sufficiency of the evidence, admission of his confession into evidence, and

Page 1139

admission of the prior statement of a witness.

We affirm.

FACTS

The facts most favorable to the State are:

On October 12, 1977, Bill Collins, Dan O'Neal and Bernard Meek were robbed at Collins' auto clean-up shop in Indianapolis by three young men. One robber carried a rifle, and one carried a stick or club. At least one had a stocking mask over his face, and one stood around the corner of the building; the victims could identify only the robbers' build and their race. The robbery took only a few minutes. Approximately $3,000 was taken from Collins.

Police were led to Smith by a statement given by Helen Watkins. Helen Watkins is the sister of James Watkins, who was tried separately for the same charge and convicted. The statement she gave to police was that she and a friend had been at the Watkins home as Smith, James Watkins and another person named Mark were preparing to go somewhere. James Watkins and Smith had stocking masks on their heads. Helen's friend accused the three of "going to do something" and James Watkins denied it. Four or five hours later, according to the statement, James Watkins, accompanied by Smith, showed Helen some money and basically recounted the robbery, saying he and "Regie and Mark" had held up some men at a garage; Smith stated there was about three thousand dollars involved.

Acting on this information, the police arrested James Watkins and Reginald Smith, both juveniles. 1 They were detained overnight in the Juvenile Center and separately questioned at 9:00 a. m. the next morning. Mary Smith, defendant's mother, was called to confer with her son. Smith's constitutional rights were explained, and he conferred with his mother. Both of them signed a standard rights waiver form, and then Smith began to talk about the crime. At one point he requested that his mother leave the room; she did so for approximately two minutes. Smith confessed his part in the robbery, saying he had carried the stick, and James Watkins, the gun; he told what was done with the emptied billfolds, and named the third participant, Mark Hunn.

Smith was sent to Juvenile Court, where a waiver hearing was conducted. He was ordered to stand trial as an adult.

Smith subsequently filed a notice of alibi, claiming he was with one Wanda Carter at the time the robbery occurred; he asserted this defense at trial and claimed he never confessed. The defense's motion to suppress the confession as involuntary was denied. Also at trial, Helen Watkins, called as a witness for the State, denied any knowledge of the matters referred to in her previous written statement. 2 She did admit having given the statement to police, and the State introduced the document as substantive evidence over the defense's objection.

After trial to the court, Smith was convicted.

ISSUES

1. Did the court properly admit Smith's confession as voluntary?

2. Did the court err in admitting the previous statement of Helen Watkins?

3. Was the evidence sufficient to support the conviction?

DECISION

ISSUE ONE Did the court properly admit Smith's confession as voluntary?

PARTIES' CONTENTIONS Smith contends on appeal, as his lawyer argued at trial, that his confession should have been suppressed as involuntary. The State counters that the police procedures employed did not impugn the voluntariness of the confession.

Page 1140

CONCLUSION The confession was properly admitted.

It is somewhat perplexing that at trial Smith claimed no confession ever made and now, on appeal, contradicts his in-court testimony by arguing that his confession should have been suppressed as involuntary. His brief states "The boy started out denying the charge, then ended up admitting it." (Appellant's brief at page 15.)

Our Supreme Court has established on a number of occasions the guidelines which must be followed in eliciting a confession from a juvenile . . . as in Lewis v. State (1972), 259 Ind. 431, 288 N.E.2d 138:

(A) juvenile's statement or confession cannot be used against him at a subsequent trial or hearing unless both he and his parents or guardian were informed of his rights to an attorney, and to remain silent. Furthermore, the child must be given an opportunity to consult with his parents, guardian or an attorney representing the juvenile as to whether or not he wishes to waive those rights. After such consultation the child may waive his rights if he so chooses provided of course that there are no elements of coercion, force or inducement present.

Id. at 142. Accord, Bluitt v. State (1978), Ind., 381 N.E.2d 458; Hall v. State (1976), 264 Ind. 448, 346 N.E.2d 584. See also Lockridge v. State (1975), 263 Ind. 678, 338 N.E.2d 275.

In Bridges v. State (1973), 260 Ind. 651, 299 N.E.2d 616, the Court added that the trial court must determine that the waiver was "knowingly and intelligently" given. Id. at 618.

The factual determination by the trial court is two-fold: (1) Were there neutralizing pressures which rendered the confession involuntary, and (2) did those neutralizing pressures result from police presence? Bluitt, supra at 461. "Where there is no evidence of pressure, and there is evidence of no pressure, the confession is admissible as voluntary." Id. at 462.

Viewed in this light, the trial court's decision not to suppress the confession was correct. The police advised both Smith and his mother of his rights, including his right to an attorney. They allowed him to consult with his mother and did not question him until he had done so. They exerted no pressure. Although they informed him of the evidence against him (Watkins' statement) and the possible penalty, this merely afforded Smith an opportunity to make a reasoned decision. Smith said he had attended school to the eleventh grade and could read and...

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15 practice notes
  • D. H. v. J. H., No. 1-880A208
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 30, 1981
    ...both for impeachment and as substantive evidence. The Patterson rule has been defined recently in Smith v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 400 N.E.2d 1137, "Briefly stated, the Patterson rule is that a prior statement of a witness is admissible, not only for purposes of impeachment, but also as sub......
  • Plan-Tec, Inc. v. Wiggins, PLAN-TE
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 11, 1983
    ...as substantive evidence, provided the out-of-court asserter is present at trial for cross-examination." Smith v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 400 N.E.2d 1137, 1141 (emphasis in the original). The definition is not entirely adequate, however. This court noted in D.H. v. J.H., (1981) Ind.App., 418......
  • Franklin v. Duckworth, No. S 81-68.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • January 29, 1982
    ...that the dangers inherent in admitting hearsay testimony are obviated if the declarant can be cross-examined. Smith v. State, Ind., 400 N.E.2d 1137 (1980). The court stated that the Patterson rule does not extend to the situation where a co-defendant has made a statement inculpating the oth......
  • Com. v. Brady
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 26, 1986
    ...v. Commonwealth, 639 S.W.2d 761 (Ky.1982); Kan.Stat.Ann. 60-460A and State v. Lott, 207 Kan. 602, 485 P.2d 1314 (1971); Smith v. State, 400 N.E.2d 1137 (Ind.Ct.App.1980); Utah R.Evid. Rule 63(1); Uniform R.Evid. Rule 801(d)(1); see generally Annot., Use or Admissibility of Prior Inconsisten......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • D. H. v. J. H., No. 1-880A208
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • March 30, 1981
    ...both for impeachment and as substantive evidence. The Patterson rule has been defined recently in Smith v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 400 N.E.2d 1137, "Briefly stated, the Patterson rule is that a prior statement of a witness is admissible, not only for purposes of impeachment, but also as sub......
  • Plan-Tec, Inc. v. Wiggins, PLAN-TE
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 11, 1983
    ...as substantive evidence, provided the out-of-court asserter is present at trial for cross-examination." Smith v. State, (1980) Ind.App., 400 N.E.2d 1137, 1141 (emphasis in the original). The definition is not entirely adequate, however. This court noted in D.H. v. J.H., (1981) Ind.App., 418......
  • Franklin v. Duckworth, No. S 81-68.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • January 29, 1982
    ...that the dangers inherent in admitting hearsay testimony are obviated if the declarant can be cross-examined. Smith v. State, Ind., 400 N.E.2d 1137 (1980). The court stated that the Patterson rule does not extend to the situation where a co-defendant has made a statement inculpating the oth......
  • Com. v. Brady
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 26, 1986
    ...v. Commonwealth, 639 S.W.2d 761 (Ky.1982); Kan.Stat.Ann. 60-460A and State v. Lott, 207 Kan. 602, 485 P.2d 1314 (1971); Smith v. State, 400 N.E.2d 1137 (Ind.Ct.App.1980); Utah R.Evid. Rule 63(1); Uniform R.Evid. Rule 801(d)(1); see generally Annot., Use or Admissibility of Prior Inconsisten......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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