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Bond V State of Indiana No. 45S03-1309-CR-597

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You have asked for a memorandum that summarizes Bond v State of Indiana No. 45S03-1309-CR-597. Below please find a summary of the key elements of this case.  

FACTS

In 2011, Detective Edward Gonzalez from the Gary Police Department loacted in Northern Indiana was investigating the 2007 murder of Kadmiel Mahone. The case was considered a “cold case” at that juncture. Detective Gonzalez had been informed that Bond may have committed the 2007 murder. On February 12, 2011, Bond was arrested for an unrelated crime. Gonzalez brought bond into the interrogation room, read him his miranda rights, which Bond waived, and Gonzalez began questioning Bond about the 2007 murder. Gonzalez approached Bond in the interrogation room with the method that he was to convince Bond that the police knew he was guilty. For the first 3 hours, Bond repeatedly denied killing Mahone. Detective Gonzalez was not convinced. Gonzalez used a variety of techniques to try to prompt Bond to confess to the murder. Gonzalez explained that if Bond cooperated the charge lowered, and he could see is mother and kids. A little over two hours into this interrogation, Gonzalez made the comment  “don’t let twelve people who are from Schererville, Crown Point—white people, Hispanic people, other people that aren’t from Gary, from your part of the hood—judge you. Because they’re not gonna put people on there who are from your neck of the woods. You know that. They’re not gonna be the ones to decide what happens to you. You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that. All they’re gonna see is, oh, look at this, another young motherf***** who didn’t give a f***.” to Bond, who is African American. After another hour, Bond finally caved and confessed to the murder of Kadmiel Mahone.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 25, 2011, the State of Indiana charged Bond with murder. Prior to trial, Bond initiated a motion to suppress the interview, asserting that his confession was made involuntarily and infringed on the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, § 14 of the Indiana Constitution. The trial court conducted two hearings on the matter. Detective Gonzalez and Bond both testified and the court denied Bond’s motion. After the court’s decision, Bond requested and was granted certification of the trial court’s order, and the Indiana Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of his appeal.
 

ISSUE(S)

Was Bond’s confession was made voluntarily?
Are the techniques used by Gonzalez during the interrogation process permissible?

HOLDING(S)

No; Bond’s confession was found to be given voluntarily but, The Indiana Supreme Court found that the detective had indeed crossed the line and Bond was intentionally deceived as to the fairness of the criminal justice system itself because of the color of his skin.

REASONING

When the defendant challenges the admissibility of his confession, the State must prove that the confession was given voluntarily. Pruitt v. State, 834 N.E.2d 90, 114 (Ind. 2005), cert. denied, 548 U.S. 910 (2006). “A confession is voluntary if, in light of the totality of the circumstances, the confession is the product of a rational intellect and not the result of physical abuse, psychological intimidation, or deceptive interrogation tactics that have overcome the defendant’s free will. The critical inquiry is whether the defendant’s statements were induced by violence, threats, promises, or other improper influence.” Ringo v. State, 736 N.E.2d 1209, 1212-13 (Ind. 2000).
Bond makes the claim that the comments made by Detective Gonzalez were specific promises that caused his confession to be involuntary. The court used precedent of Carter v State to aid in the decision; that an officer’s statements that “there’s a way you can work around this” and that the defendant would not have a future unless he was honest were not promises of benefits or threats and did not render the confession involuntary; Carter v. State, 686 N.E.2d 1254, 1259-60 (Ind. 1997) This was further reinforced by considering the context in which Detective Gonzalez made his comments. During the interrogation, Detective Gonzalez told Bond that he could see his mother and children if he were to cooperate; the detective did not use any threats against Bond’s family. In fact, he followed through with his promises and Bond was able to see his girlfriend, mother and his children. Thus, the comments made by Detective Gonzalez indicating that he could help Bond if he confessed did not render his confession involuntary.
The detective’s statement that Bond might not receive a fair trial because of his race and the predicted make up of the prospective jury is a police tactic that is not condoned because it’s deceptive nature. Since the establishment of the Fourteenth Amendment, ensuring equal access to justice for all its citizens Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 308 (1879) (state statute excluding non-white citizens from juries “is practically a brand upon those citizens, affixed by the law, an assertion of their inferiority, and a stimulant to that race prejudice which is an impediment to securing to individuals of the race that equal justice which the law aims to secure to all others”, the interrogation techniques by Detective Gonzalez disregards these fundamental rights outlined by the United States Constitution. In fact, the use of these tactics effects the entire justice system, as it undermines the fairness of the system. For these reasons, the court has found that Bond was intentionally deceived by Detective Gonzalez as to the fairness of the criminal justice system; Bond was given the impression that because of the color of his skin, regardless of the evidence held against him, or the crime, because he was African American he would spend the rest of his life in jail. 

JUDGMENT

The court reverses the trial court’s denial of Bond’s motion to suppress the confession. Bond’s confession was not found to be involuntary, but, since the court found Gonzalez to be intentionally misleading Bond about his constitutionally guaranteed rights to a fair trial and an impartial jury, because of his race, the court remanded the case for further proceedings.

SEPARATE OPINION(S)

Dickson, C.J., Rucker, Massa, and Rush, JJ., concur.

NOTES/COmments

The case Bond v. State of Indiana has set precedent for interrogation techniques in the state of Indiana going forward. Although Bond’s confession was found to be valid, the methods utilized by detective Gonzalez create a standard for the language and references allowed in futures instances that are similar.

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