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J.L. v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 13, 2014

J.L., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 432

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 433

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Geoffrey A. Gaither, Magistrate. Cause No. 49D09-1301-JD-102.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOEL M. SCHUMM, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, KATHERINE MODESITT COOPER, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BROWN, Judge. ROBB, J., concurs. BARNES, J., concurs in result with separate opinion.

OPINION

Page 434

BROWN, Judge

J.L. appeals the juvenile court's true finding that he committed a delinquent act, which, if committed by an adult, would constitute child molesting, a class C felony. J.L. raises two issues, which we revise and restate as:

I. Whether the court abused its discretion in admitting J.L.'s statement to police; and
II. Whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain his adjudication as delinquent.

We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

During the weekend of May 26, 2012, J.L., who was twelve years old, was spending time with his cousins F.R., who was six years old, D.R., and A.R., who were staying the weekend with their father. Following a beach outing, J.L. asked if he could spend the night at the house of the other boys' father, and both fathers agreed. That night, while the boys were watching TV in their father's bedroom, J.L. asked F.R. " do you want to have [a] party," and F.R. replied " yeah." Transcript at 11-12. J.L. then asked F.R. if he wanted " to have a gay party," and F.R. said " no." Id. at 12. F.R. understood that when J.L. asked to have a gay party, it meant that J.L. wanted to touch F.R.'s " private." Id. at 18. J.L. then " kept saying yeah . . . lets have one," F.R. continued to watch TV, and J.L. then " touched [F.R.'s] private," which was a word F.R. used to describe his penis, by placing his hand over F.R.'s clothing and squeezing F.R.'s penis for " one minute." Id. at 12, 15. J.L. asked " do you like," and F.R. responded " no." Id. at 16. Later that night, F.R. attempted to wake his father to tell him what had occurred, but J.L. " grabbed [his] arm and he didn't let [him] go tell [his] dad." Id. at 17. When F.R. returned to his mother that Sunday he told her what had happened, and she called the police.

On January 14, 2013, Detective Robin Myers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department conducted an interview

Page 435

with J.L. regarding the incident. Also present at the interview were J.L.'s mother, who does not speak English, and another officer to interpret for J.L.'s mother. At the outset of the interview, Detective Myers informed J.L. and his mother that they were being video recorded and identified the camera. Detective Myers read the first portion of a Juvenile Waiver form, titled " Warning of Rights," which provided as follows:

Before we ask you any questions, you must understand your rights.

1. You may have one or both of your parents present.
2. You have the right to remain silent.
3. Anything you say can be used as evidence against you in court.
4. 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.
5. If you cannot afford a lawyer and you want one, one will be appointed for you by the court before questioning.
6. If you decide to answer questions now, without a lawyer present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time. You will also the [sic] right to stop answering at any time until you talk to a lawyer.

State's Exhibit 3; State's Exhibit 2 at 23:08-25:52. The other officer translated the Warning of Rights portion in Spanish for J.L.'s mother, and J.L.'s mother was provided with a Spanish-language version of the Juvenile Waiver form. Before reading the Warning of Rights, Detective Myers explained that she would read them and then give J.L. and his mother " time if [they] want to talk together." State's Exhibit 2 at 22:50-22:58. Also, regarding J.L.'s right to remain silent, Detective Myers explained that if he did not " want to answer [her] questions [], [he did not] have to answer," and J.L. replied that her explanation made sense to him. Id. at 23:50-24:00.

After advising J.L. and his mother of J.L.'s rights, Detective Myers asked J.L. to read aloud the final portion of the Warning of Rights as follows:

My parents and I have read this statement of my rights and it has been read to us, and my parents and I understand what my rights are. My parents and I have been allowed time by ourselves without the presence of a police officer to discuss the waiver of my rights before signing the waiver of rights.

State's Exhibit 3; State's Exhibit 2 at 27:21-27:48. Afterward, Detective Myers asked J.L. and his mother: " Do you [J.L. and his mother] want to talk before we go any further? Because I want to ask him questions about the two other kids. But right now do you two need to talk about anything before we make a decision?" State's Exhibit 2 at 27:57-28:16. Following the interpreting officer's recitation to J.L.'s mother, J.L. and his mother briefly conferred, J.L.'s mother spoke in Spanish, and the interpreter then stated to Detective Myers that " yes, they want to continue." Id. at 28:43-28:46. Detective Myers then asked J.L. to make sure that he wanted to continue, and J.L. responded " yeah." Id. at 28:57. J.L. and his mother then signed and dated the Warning of Rights portion of the Juvenile Waiver.[1]

Detective Myers then presented the second portion of the Juvenile Waiver form,

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titled " Waiver," to J.L. and had him read the following ...


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