Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge. The Honorable Gary Chavers, Magistrate. Cause No. 49D09-1410-JD-2399.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Matthew D. Anglemeyer, Marion County Public Defender, Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Ellen H. Meilaender, Deputy Public Defender, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Najam, Judge. Kirsch, J., and Barnes, J., concur.
Statement of the Case
[¶1] R.B. appeals his adjudication as a delinquent for dangerous possession of a firearm, as a Class A misdemeanor when committed by an adult. R.B. raises two issues for our review:
1. Whether his mother, T.B., had authority under the Fourth Amendment to consent to a police search of R.B.'s bedroom in T.B.'s house.
2. Whether the juvenile court abused its discretion when it admitted R.B.'s subsequent confession to law enforcement officers, which, according to R.B., was fruit of the poisonous tree following the purportedly illegal search of his bedroom.
As a matter of first impression in Indiana, we hold that it is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment for an officer to rely on the voluntary consent of a minor's parent to search the minor's bedroom inside the parent's home. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court's adjudication of R.B. as a delinquent.
Facts and Procedural History
[¶2] At about 7:30 a.m. on September 30, 2014, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Sonya Daggy received a dispatch report of an attempted burglary. Officer Daggy spoke with the reporting homeowner, who gave a detailed description of the suspects, who were juveniles. The juveniles had fled south from the residence when the homeowner discovered them.
[¶3] A few minutes later, Officer Daggy observed three juveniles about six blocks south of the home. Those individuals matched the descriptions provided by the homeowner. Officer Daggy observed that the juveniles were wearing school uniforms but were not in school, even though " juveniles about that age are generally . . . in school . . . about that time." Tr. at 9. Officer Daggy stopped the juveniles, determined that they were supposed to be at school, and obtained their parents' contact information. R.B., who was fifteen years old, was one of the juveniles. Officer Daggy then contacted a parent for each juvenile and asked the parents to pick up their children.
[¶4] When T.B. arrived to pick up R.B., Officer Daggy asked her " if she had seen [R.B.] with a white laptop recently." Id. at 19. Officer Daggy asked T.B. this question because " there had been several burglaries in that particular neighborhood" recently, and Officer Daggy had " taken a burglary report where a white laptop had been stolen . . . approximately three weeks prior." Id. T.B. informed Officer Daggy that she had seen R.B. with a white laptop in the past few days but she did not know how R.B. had acquired the laptop. Accordingly, Officer Daggy asked T.B. if they could go to ...