Can a statement be used in court?
The Indiana Appeals Court held that a Defendant’s statement could not be used against him where a deputy sheriff used the pretext of pulling Defendant over for speeding so a detective could question the Defendant. The deputy sheriff did not actually know the speed limit in the area and estimated, based on his experience (not a radar gun or checking the speed limit sign), that the Defendant was going 55 mph in a 45 mph zone. The deputy had been watching the Defendant because the Defendant was suspected of burglarizing homes in the area. As soon as he pulled over the Defendant the deputy sheriff called a detective and the detective drove to the scene to talk to the defendant. The detective told the defendant he was free to leave but asked him if he would talk to him about some recent burglaries. The defendant agreed and denied knowledge of the burglaries. The detective then questioned the passenger who stated the defendant had guns at his home.
The detective told the defendant what the passenger said and asked the defendant if he would now cooperate. Even though the defendant had a working automobile, the detective then drove the defendant to the police station and read him his Miranda rights. He was not handcuffed. No traffic citation was issued or any paperwork with the traffic stop. The detective promised not to arrest the Defendant that night if he cooperated. The defendant then confessed to the burglaries. The detective let him go home that day but he was later arrested for the burglaries, theft, and possession of firearms by a violent felon.
The Appellate Court held that the stop was an illegal stop and that the statement made in such close connection with it must, therefore, be suppressed.
Susannah Hall-Justice has been using the law of our state and country to defend people accused of crimes since 1997. Contact Hall-Justice Law Firm so we can defend you by investigating and analyzing your case in light of current state and federal law, which is constantly evolving.