Q: Can a officer question a juvenile without a parent present?
A: Yes. BUT . . . it is NOT admissible if the child did not have an opportunity to have a "meaningful consultation" with a parent or guardian BEFORE waiving right to counsel. UNLESS .. . the child gets on the witness stand and testifies INCONSISTENTLY with what was said in the unlawful consultation.
Here are the relevant statutes:
IC 31-32-5-1 Waiver of rights guaranteed to child
Any rights guaranteed to a child under the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Indiana, or any other law may be waived only:
(1) by counsel retained or appointed to represent the child if the child knowingly and voluntarily joins with the waiver;
(2) by the child's custodial parent, guardian, custodian, or guardian ad litem if:
(A) that person knowingly and voluntarily waives the right;
(B) that person has no interest adverse to the child;
(C) meaningful consultation has occurred between that person and the child; and
(D) the child knowingly and voluntarily joins with the waiver; or
(3) by the child, without the presence of a custodial parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem, if:
(A) the child knowingly and voluntarily consents to the waiver; and
(B) the child has been emancipated under IC 31-34-20-6 or IC 31-37-19-27, by virtue of having married, or in accordance with the laws of another state or jurisdiction.
IC 31-32-5-2 Child's waiver of right to meaningful consultation
The child may waive the child's right to meaningful consultation under section 1(2)(C) of this chapter if:
(1) the child is informed of that right;
(2) the child's waiver is made in the presence of the child's custodial parent, guardian, custodian, guardian ad litem, or attorney; and
(3) the waiver is made knowingly and voluntarily.
IC 31-32-5-3 Admissibility of excluded statement for impeachment purposes
(1) a statement made knowingly and voluntarily cannot be admitted as evidence against a child because of failure to meet the requirements of section 1 of this chapter; and
(2) the child testifies in the child's own defense;
the statement may be admitted to impeach the child as a witness in the same manner as evidence of any other prior inconsistent statement can be admitted for impeachment.
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