Texas Family Code 52.02 Interpretation

In Baptist Vie Le v. State, 993 S.W.2d 650 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999), the Court considered whether a violation of Texas Family Code 52.02(a) required the suppression of an otherwise admissible statement. That section essentially provides that once a juvenile is taken into custody, he must either be taken, without unnecessary delay, to a juvenile processing center or there must be compliance with one of the other statutory options. Texas Family Code 52.02(a) provides the following options: (1) release the child to a parent, guardian, custodian of the child, or other responsible adult upon that person's promise to bring the child before the juvenile court as requested by the court; (2) bring the child before the office or official designated by the juvenile court if there is probable cause to believe that the child engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision; (3) bring the child to a detention facility designated by the juvenile court; (4) bring the child to a secure detention facility as provided by Section 51.12(j); (5) bring the child to a medical facility if the child is believed to suffer from a serious physical condition or illness that requires prompt treatment; or (6) dispose of the case under Section 52.03. In that case, the officers took the juvenile to the homicide division of the police department, where they obtained a statement from him. The homicide division was not a juvenile processing center, nor did taking him there satisfy one of the other statutory options. Thus, we held that the statement was inadmissible since the officers failed to comply with the Family Code. In Baptist Vie Le, we did not automatically exclude the evidence. Rather, we recognized that Article 38.23(a) provides the proper mechanism for excluding evidence obtained in violation of the Family Code. Baptist Vie Le, 993 S.W.2d at 656 n.14. Moreover, nothing in Baptist Vie Le did or could alter the statutory requirements of Article 38.23(a).