Involuntary Confession Persuading Defendant He Cannot Have a Fair Trial Based Upon His Race

In State v. Bond, decided May 13, 2014, a murder suspect's confession was involuntary because a detective told him that there was a possibility that is trial would not be fair due to an impartial jury because of his race. The detective intensely interrogated Bond in 2011 for a 2007 cold case murder. About two hours into the custodial interrogation, the detective told Bond, who is African-American, that he wouldn't get a fair trial because of his race. Bond later admitted committing the murder.

In an unpublished opinion, a divided Court of Appeals disapproved of the detective's inappropriate statement but upheld the denial of Bond's motion to suppress. In his dissenting opinion, Judge Kirsch argued, "each time courts allow such conduct, they implicitly sanction it and encourage the next police officer in the next interrogation to go a bit further, to be more offensive, more racist and more deceptive."

On transfer, the Indiana Supreme Court agreed, noting that the tactic used by police was deceptive and clearly misrepresented the rights of the individual to a fair trial and an impartial jury that would not judge him based on his race. The misrepresentation was used as leverage to get the individual to confess to a crime that he might not have if he knew is real options.

Although police officers are given wide latitude in interrogation tactics, the detective in this case went too far. The court reversed the judge's denial of Bond's motion to suppress his confession and remanded for further proceedings.

Ensure that your rights are being protected after your arrest by calling our Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer to represent you today.

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