State v. D.R

In State v. D.R., 84 Wn. App. 832, 930 P.2d 350, 353 (Wash. App. 1997) the court suppressed the statements made by a fourteen-year-old boy who was interrogated by a police officer in the presence of the assistant principal and a school social worker. The interview took place in the assistant principal's office. The boy was told that he did not have to answer questions, but he was not otherwise given Miranda warnings. The court declared that the pertinent inquiry was whether a fourteen-year-old in the student's position would have "reasonably supposed his freedom of action was curtailed". The court concluded that the student was in custody during his interview, based on the police officer's failure to inform him that he was free to leave, the student's youth, the fact that the principal's office was a coercive environment for a child his age, and the accusatory nature of the interrogation. In sum, the detective advised the student that he did not have to answer questions, but he also told the student, "We know you've been havin' sexual intercourse with your sister . . . ." Id. at 352. Finding that the error was not harmless, the court reversed and remanded. Id. at 354.