Monday, March 24, 2014
Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court posts opinion filed Friday, construing Juvenile Mental Health Statute’s limited immunity as prohibiting both use and derivative use of a juvenile’s statements to prove delinquency
In State of Indiana v. I.T., a 10-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rush writes:
More than half of children entering the Indiana juvenile justice system have mental health or substance abuse problems. In response, Indiana has established a pilot project to screen and treat juveniles suffering from these issues. To facilitate participation in the project, the Legislature en-acted the Juvenile Mental Health Statute, barring a child’s statement to a mental health evaluator from being admitted into evidence to prove delinquency. We construe that statute to confer both use immunity and derivative use immunity, in order to avoid a likely violation of the constitutional privileges against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and Article 1, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution. We therefore affirm the trial court. * * *ILB Note: This opinion is NOT new, see this post from later in the same day.
We conclude that the State may appeal a juvenile court order that suppresses evidence, if doing so terminates the proceeding. We also construe the Juvenile Mental Health Statute’s limited immunity as prohibiting both use and derivative use of a juvenile’s statements to prove delin-quency—a safe harbor that honors the Legislature’s intent, while avoiding any question of the Statute’s constitutionality that would otherwise be implicated. We therefore affirm the trial court.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 24, 2014 08:38 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions