''Unnecessary Delay'' In Juvenile Arrest Process In Texas

In Comer v. State, 776 S.W.2d 191, 193 (Tex.Crim.App. 1989), a sixteen year old juvenile was arrested at 6:24 p.m., driven to a police station to pick up some forms, taken to the home of a Justice of the Peace to have warnings administered, returned to the police station where a written statement was taken, returned to the home of the Justice of the Peace to have the statement signed, and finally, at approximately 9:30 p.m., he was taken to a juvenile detention center. See Comer, 776 S.W.2d at 192-93. The Comer court found that this police action violated Family Code 52.02(a) and as a result, the statement taken should not have been admitted into evidence. See id. at 196-97. Laws governing juveniles accused of delinquency have been enacted by the Legislature and are set out in Title 3 of the Family Code. See Matter of D.M.G.H., 553 S.W.2d 827, 828 (Tex.Civ.App.-El Paso 1977, no writ). That title of the Family Code is designed to serve the dual role of protecting the public while insulating children from the taint of criminality. See Comer v. State, 776 S.W.2d 191, 193 (Tex.Crim.App. 1989). "Police officers, Courts, and others involved in the handling of juveniles are bound to comply with the detailed and explicit procedures enacted by the Legislature in that Code." See Matter of D.M.G.H., 553 S.W.2d at 828. "Where the officer deems it necessary to take the child into custody, 52.02(a)...dictates what he must then do 'without unnecessary delay.'" See Comer, 776 S.W.2d at 194; See also: Baptist Vie Le v. State, 993 S.W.2d 650, 655 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999)(officers must follow "very specific actions" set up by the Legislature in dealing with juveniles; this case also explicitly reaffirms Comer); Anthony v. State, 954 S.W.2d 132, 134 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 1997)(when detaining juveniles, officers must follow 52.02); Matter of R.R., 931 S.W.2d 11, 14 (Tex.App.- Corpus Christi 1996, no writ)(stating that those dealing with juveniles are "bound" by the Family Code's "explicit procedures"); State v. Langley, 852 S.W.2d 708, 709 (Tex.App.-Corpus Christi 1993, pet. ref'd)(stating that the Texas Family Code dictates what officers must do when delivering juveniles to the court). Section 52.02(a)(2) requiring the police to transport an arrested juvenile to a designated juvenile office without "unnecessary delay" by its very terms contemplates that "necessary" delay is permissible. This can only be determined on a case by case basis.