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Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Appeals Court Rules Juvenile's Statements Should Have Been Supressed

The Clermont County Juvenile Court erred in denying a motion to exclude from evidence videotaped statements made by a 13-year-old boy to Union Township Police because of a Miranda violation, according to the Twelfth District Court of Appeals.

Judge Robert A. Hendrickson wrote the decision that concerned J.S., who was adjudicated as delinquent on May 11, 2011. In a delinquency complaint filed with the court, Detective Jon Pavia alleged J.S. had committed an act which would be rape if committed by an adult.

Judge Hendrickson cited several court decisions holding that a suspect must be advised of his rights if questioning by law enforcement occurs during a “custodial interrogation.”

“After a careful review of the record, we find that appellant was in custody, for the purposes of Miranda, when he gave his statements to Pavia,” Judge Hendrickson wrote. “Pavia had a duty to advise appellant of his Miranda rights” as “these warnings were necessary and not provided.”

Judge Hendrickson also discussed the only other evidence presented in the case: the testimony of Amanda Burton, the owner of the apartment where the incident took place.

“As Burton’s testimony did not reveal any evidence of vaginal penetration, a reasonable possibility exists that the admission of appellant’s statements to Pavia contributed to appellant’s delinquency adjudication,” he wrote. “Therefore, we cannot say that the error in admitting this evidence was harmless. Accordingly, we sustain appellant’s first assignment of error and must reverse his adjudication and remand the case for further proceedings.”

Judge Stephen W. Powell concurred in the August 6 opinion. Judge Robin N. Piper III concurred separately.

“The state asserts that the questioning was not an ‘in-custody’ situation and that the defendant had voluntary control over his questioning,” Judge Piper wrote. “Yet, the setting of the circumstances suggests otherwise.”

“While not a requirement that a parent be present during the interview, the police deprived the parent a specific request to sit with his son,” he continued. “In my opinion, this denial did nothing to alleviate concerns as to whether appellant’s statement was voluntary or whether his statement was the product of something other than an ‘in custody’ interrogation.”

In re J.S., 2012-Ohio-3534
Criminal Appeal From: Clermont County Juvenile Court
Judgment Appealed From Is: Reversed and Remanded
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: August 6, 2012

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