Juvenile’s Statements Must Be Suppressed Because the Police Obtained Them in Violation of His Constitutional Rights
In In re E.W., Juvenile, 2015 VT 7 (January 16, 2015), the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that a juvenile’s statements to the police needed to be suppressed because the statements were obtained in violation of the juvenile’s federal and state constitutional rights.
Issue: Juvenile appeals from denial of his motion to suppress statements to the police allegedly made in violation of his state and federal constitutional rights.
Holding: Reversed, because Juvenile was “in custody” while being questioned at his foster home without being apprised of his Miranda rights or being able to consult with an independent interested adult.
More Detail: The Court asserted that the 5th and 6th amendment right to receive Miranda warnings attaches at the same time as a juvenile’s right to consult with an independent interested adult: at the time of a custodial interrogation. The Court found that the Juvenile was “in custody” at the time of the interrogation, by reference to several factors, including: (most importantly) whether the officer indicated that the suspect was free to leave or end the interrogation; the officer’s communication of his belief of the suspect’s guilt; the suspect’s age; whether the juvenile suspect would have felt free to end the interrogation in the presence/absence of an independent interested adult; and the physical setting of the interrogation.
Dissent: J Dooley disagreed that the Juvenile met his burden of showing that he was “in custody” during the interrogation.