Stewart v. State, No. 49S00-0010-CR-587.

Docket NºNo. 49S00-0010-CR-587.
Citation754 N.E.2d 492
Case DateAugust 29, 2001
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

754 N.E.2d 492

Alfred L. STEWART, Appellant (Defendant Below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below)

No. 49S00-0010-CR-587.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

August 29, 2001.


754 N.E.2d 493
Ann Sutton, Indianapolis, IN, Attorney for Appellant

Steve Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, James B. Martin, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

BOEHM, Justice.

Alfred Stewart, a juvenile, was convicted of felony murder and robbery. In this direct appeal, Stewart contends that the trial court should have suppressed his confession to the police because it was taken in violation of Indiana Code section 31-32-5-1. We reverse the conviction and remand for a new trial.

Factual and Procedural Background

At some point on December 4, 1998, Damon Forte, Stewart's cousin, suggested that, because he and Stewart were out of cash, they should rob someone. The pair had been sitting at the Bigfoot Gas Station parking lot on East 38th Street for about four hours when Johnnie Smith and Ralph Moore arrived after dark to refuel Smith's car. As Moore slept in the car, Smith decided to make a call on an outdoor payphone near the lot. Stewart and Forte approached Smith. Smith struck up a conversation with the pair, but turned to walk away when he saw that Forte had a rifle. Stewart then grabbed Smith and demanded his money. When he refused, Smith was shot in the foot, beaten with the rifle, punched repeatedly, and finally shot in the chest. Smith collapsed and died at the scene. Forte and Stewart grabbed Smith's cash and fled in different directions. Later, they split the money, with Stewart taking about $300. The pair then went to see Ashley Rice, Forte's girlfriend. Forte asked Rice to keep $200 until he could collect it later.

Detective Ken Martinez's investigation led him to Stewart and Forte. Martinez and another officer found the pair at an East 38th Street address near the Bigfoot station. As Martinez approached, Stewart immediately volunteered "that his cousin was getting him locked up for something that he got him into." Asked whether he was talking about what happened at the Bigfoot parking lot, Stewart replied, "Yes." Martinez then asked Stewart and Forte how old they were. When both replied that they were seventeen years old, he immediately stopped asking questions, put the two into separate cars, and transported them to the police station.

At the station, Martinez unsuccessfully attempted to contact Stewart's mother, then located Stewart's father. The father,

754 N.E.2d 494
upon arriving at the station, told Martinez that he was Stewart's biological father, but that Stewart did not live with him. Martinez provided Stewart and his father with a copy of a "juvenile form" that, in essence, contains the basic Miranda warnings as well as the statements, "You have the right to have one or both parents present," and, "The juvenile and his parents are entitled to a conference."

Martinez waited outside the room while Stewart and his father talked for fifteen to thirty minutes. Stewart and his father then signed the waiver of rights at the bottom of the form and Martinez audiotaped Stewart's confession. Stewart was charged with felony murder and robbery as a Class A felony. A jury found him guilty on both counts. The trial court vacated the robbery conviction, and sentenced Stewart to fifty-five years imprisonment for felony murder.

I. Admissibility of Juvenile Confession

Stewart contends the trial court erred in admitting his audiotaped confession. Stewart filed a motion to suppress the confession, which the trial court denied.1 Indiana Code section 31-32-5-1 provides, in relevant part, that the state and federal constitutional rights of an unemancipated person under eighteen years of age 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;
(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.

Ind.Code § 31-32-5-1(2) (1998) (originally enacted as Indiana Code section 31-6-7-3 (1978)). The statute represents the legislature's agreement with this Court's conclusions in Lewis v. State, 259 Ind. 431, 439, 288 N.E.2d 138, 142 (1972), that extra protections are necessary when juveniles are faced with the prospect of waiving their constitutional rights. The statute requires the participation of a "custodial parent" and prohibits a unilateral waiver of rights by the child. Whipple v. State, 523 N.E.2d 1363, 1370 n. 2 (Ind.1988). The burden is on the State to show that such a waiver occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. Garrett v. State, 265 Ind. 63, 65, 351 N.E.2d 30, 32 (1976).

An adult's waiver of Miranda rights is analyzed in terms of whether it is voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently given. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966); see also Carter v. State, 730 N.E.2d 155, 157 (Ind.2000). In stating its reasons for overruling Stewart's motion to suppress his confession, the trial court focused on whether Stewart voluntarily waived his rights. Indiana Code section 31-32-5-4 provides trial courts with a...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 practice notes
  • D.M. v. State , No. 49S02–1101–JV–11.
    • United States
    • June 22, 2011
    ...and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights,11 [949 N.E.2d 335] Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 494–95 (Ind.2001). Cf. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111–12 (Ind.1985) (procedural safeguards judged by same standard as voluntariness). In ......
  • N.B. v. State , No. 55A01–1111–JV–574.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 2, 2012
    ...that both the juvenile and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights, Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 494–95 (Ind.2001). Cf. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111–12 (Ind.1985) (procedural safeguards judged by same standard as voluntariness).......
  • Rogers v. State, No. 82A04-0806-CR-315.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 12, 2008
    ...in the admission of evidence are to be disregarded as harmless unless they affect the defendant's substantial rights. Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 496 (Ind.2001); Ind. Trial Rule 61; Ind. Evidence Rule 103(a). An error will be deemed harmless if its probable impact on the jury, in ligh......
  • Norton v. State, No. 49A05-0109-CR-390.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 12, 2002
    ...admission or exclusion of evidence affects a substantial right of a party, the error will be disregarded as harmless. Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 496 (Ind.2001). An error is harmless if its probable impact upon the jury, in light of all of the evidence in the case, is sufficiently min......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • D.M. v. State , No. 49S02–1101–JV–11.
    • United States
    • June 22, 2011
    ...and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights,11 [949 N.E.2d 335] Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 494–95 (Ind.2001). Cf. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111–12 (Ind.1985) (procedural safeguards judged by same standard as voluntariness). In ......
  • N.B. v. State , No. 55A01–1111–JV–574.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 2, 2012
    ...that both the juvenile and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights, Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 494–95 (Ind.2001). Cf. Douglas v. State, 481 N.E.2d 107, 111–12 (Ind.1985) (procedural safeguards judged by same standard as voluntariness).......
  • Rogers v. State, No. 82A04-0806-CR-315.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 12, 2008
    ...in the admission of evidence are to be disregarded as harmless unless they affect the defendant's substantial rights. Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 496 (Ind.2001); Ind. Trial Rule 61; Ind. Evidence Rule 103(a). An error will be deemed harmless if its probable impact on the jury, in ligh......
  • Norton v. State, No. 49A05-0109-CR-390.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 12, 2002
    ...admission or exclusion of evidence affects a substantial right of a party, the error will be disregarded as harmless. Stewart v. State, 754 N.E.2d 492, 496 (Ind.2001). An error is harmless if its probable impact upon the jury, in light of all of the evidence in the case, is sufficiently min......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT