Appeal from the Pulaski Circuit Court The Honorable Michael
A. Shurn, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 66C01-1512-F1-3
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Angela N. Sanchez Deputy Attorney General
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Mark K. Leeman Leeman Law Office and
Cass County Public Defender Logansport, Indiana.
In late 2015, Appellee-Defendant Brandon Battering was
accused of sexually molesting his then-twelve-year-old
step-sister and sending her an explicit message on Facebook.
The instant interlocutory appeal stems from the trial
court's order granting Battering's motion to suppress
certain pre-trial statements made by Battering to
investigating officers. We affirm.
and Procedural History
According to the allegations supporting the charges filed in
the underlying criminal case, on November 29, 2015, the
Pulaski County Sheriff's Department received a report
that Battering had engaged in unlawful sexual behavior with
and sent a sexually explicit Facebook message to his
then-twelve-year-old stepsister, B.R. On December 3, 2015,
Battering voluntarily appeared at the Lafayette Police
Department and participated in a lengthy interview with
Pulaski County Sheriff's Deputy Nicolas Bowyer and
Lafayette Police Department Detective-Sergeant Robert A.
Goldsmith. During the lengthy interview with Deputy Bowyer
and Detective-Sergeant Goldsmith, Battering discussed, among
other things, the allegations made by B.R. Battering
initially denied B.R.'s allegations.
At one point during the lengthy interview, Battering
indicated that he was "p[*****] off" and was
"done with answering questions right now[.]"
Appellant's App. Vol. II-Confidential, pp. 169, 170.
Immediately after making this statement, Battering told
Detective-Sergeant Goldsmith that "You guys done
p[*****] me off and have me in a bad a[**] mood now."
Appellant's App. Vol. II-Confidential, p. 170.
Detective-Sergeant Goldsmith continued to talk to Battering
after Battering indicated that he did not wish to answer any
more questions. Eventually, at Detective-Sergeant
Goldsmith's urging and direction, Battering continued on
with the interview. By the end of the interview, Battering
made incriminating statements in which he admitted to some,
but not all, of B.R.'s allegations.
The next day, on December 4, 2015, Appellant-Plaintiff the
State of Indiana ("the State") charged Battering
with one count each of Level 1 felony child molesting, Level
4 child molesting, and Level 5 felony child solicitation. On
January 13, 2017, Battering filed a motion to suppress the
pre-trial statements he made during his interview with Deputy
Bowyer and Detective-Sergeant Goldsmith. The trial court
conducted a hearing on Battering's motion on January 19,
2017. The next day, on January 20, 2017, the trial court
issued a written order granting Battering's motion to
Also on January 20, 2017, the State moved to have the trial
court's order certified for interlocutory appeal. The
State's request was granted that same day. The State
subsequently requested that this court accept jurisdiction
over the matter, which we did on March 17, 2017. This
interlocutory appeal follows.
The State contends that the trial court erred in granting
Battering's motion to suppress the statements he made
during the December 3, 2015 interview with Deputy Bowyer and
Detective-Sergeant Goldsmith. It is well-settled that when an
individual "'indicates in any manner, at any time
prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain
silent, the interrogation must cease.'"
Washington v. State, 808 N.E.2d 617, 623 (Ind. 2004)
(quoting Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 173-74
(1966)). "An assertion of Miranda rights must
be clear and unequivocal, and in determining whether a person
has asserted his or her rights, the defendant's
statements are considered as a whole." Clark v.
State, 808 N.E.2d 1183, 1190 (Ind. 2004). "Although
there are no particular words of legal magic to cut off
questioning, a suspect must do more than express reluctance
to talk" in order to invoke his right to remain silent.
Powell v. State, 898 N.E.2d 328, 337 (Ind.Ct.App.
2008). Review of whether an individual has invoked his right
to remain silent is "intensely fact-sensitive."
Id. (citing Haviland v. State, 677 N.E.2d
509, 514 (Ind. 1997)).
Approximately half way through Battering's lengthy
interview with Deputy Bowyer and Detective-Sergeant
Goldsmith, Battering stated "Honestly, I'm done with
answering questions right now, honestly."
Appellant's App. Vol. II- Confidential, p. 170. After
Detective-Sergeant Goldsmith responded "Okay, "
Battering went on to say "You guys done p[*****] me off
and have me in a bad a[**] mood now." Appellant's