Effect of Deceit
• [A] confession induced by promises, threats, or deceit is not voluntarily made.
Determining voluntariness in light of deceit
• While deceptive police interrogation tactics weigh heavily against the voluntariness of a confession, Henry v. State, 738 N.E.2d 663, 665 (Ind. 2000), they do not automatically render a confession inadmissible, Clark v. State, 808 N.E.2d 1183, 1191 (Ind. 2004).
See Atteberry v. State, 911 N.E.2d 601, 606 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009)(quotation marks and citations omitted)(“Although police deception is a factor that weighs against the voluntariness of a confession, police deception does not automatically render a confession inadmissible.”)
• Rather, they must be considered in light of the totality of the circumstances.
See Palilonis v. State, 970 N.E.2d 713, 733 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), trans. denied(citing Henry v. State, 738 N.E.2d 663, 665 (Ind. 2000))(“The conduct of the police must be examined in the context of the ‘totality of the circumstances’ test to determine if it overbore the suspect’s will, rendering the statement involuntary.”)
See also Atteberry v. State, 911 N.E.2d 601, 606 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009)(citing Miller v. State, 770 N.E.2d 763, 767 n. 5 (Ind. 2002))(“[O]ur supreme court has repeatedly held that police deception during an interview is but one factor to consider in the totality of the circumstances.”)
Cf. Willey v. State, 712 N.E.2d 434, 441 (Ind. 1999)(“It is true, as the State points out, that police deception does not vitiate a Miranda waiver and render a confession inadmissible, but is rather one consideration that must be viewed in determining the ‘totality of the circumstances.’ This is based in significant part on the view that the confession is easily understood by even the most limited suspect to be a serious act and one that potentially has severe adverse consequences. One does not easily suppose that a false confession will be elicited by a false report of an accusation.”)
Interpretations of “police deception”
• “[N]ot all police interrogation statements of conjecture, presented as fact, constitute police deception.”
• [I]f the police have a good faith basis for a statement, even if technically false, it does not rise to the level of deception.
See Washington v. State, 808 N.E.2d 617, 622 (Ind. 2004)(quoting Miller v. State, 770 N.E.2d 763, 768 n. 5 (Ind. 2002))(“[W]here the police have a ‘good faith basis for their technical falsehood, then their action will not be deemed deceptive.’”)
• Detective Cole did not have a good faith basis for his statement that consensual sex with an adult relative is lawful. The basis for his statement was that he did not know the law. We would set a dangerous precedent if we were to hold that a lack of knowledge of the law amounts to a good faith basis for a material misstatement. Such a holding would give police officers an incentive to not know the law.
Statements not constituting deceit
• A truthful accusation that the police do not believe an accused is telling the truth does not constitute fraud or trickery when an accused’s story does not match that of another witness.
Examples of when police deception does not make a confession involuntary
• [E]ven where the officer falsely tells the defendant that his accomplice has incriminated him, the deceptive statement is insufficient to render the confession inadmissible.
• In Layton v. State, 301 N.E.2d 633, 635 (Ind. 1973), we found that a confession would not be rendered inadmissible on the grounds that the defendant had not been advised prior to confessing that the victim had in fact died of the act to which the defendant confessed.
Example of when police deception makes a confession involuntary
• A police officer may engage in a number of tactics and techniques to induce a confession without rendering that confession involuntary. “Such questioning is undoubtedly an essential tool in effective law enforcement,” and “[t]he line between proper and permissible police conduct and techniques and methods offensive to due process is, at best, a difficult one to draw.” But today we hold that intentionally misleading a suspect as to his constitutionally guaranteed rights to a fair trial and an impartial jury, because of his race, sits squarely on the wrong side of that line.
Applicability to private citizens
• This Court recognizes the validity of the rule excluding confessions given under threats or coercion. Nevertheless, this Court has previously held that the exclusionary rule does not apply to situations where private citizens gather evidence apart from police activity, even if the information was procured by chicanery.