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D.Z. v. State

Supreme Court of Indiana

June 20, 2018

D.Z., Appellant (Respondent)
v.
State of Indiana Appellee (Petitioner)

          Appeal from the Hendricks Superior Court, No. 32D03-1704-JD-86 The Honorable Karen M. Love, Judge

          On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 32A05-1708-JV-1907

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Jeffery A. Earl Law Offices of Lewis & Earl Danville, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana, Ellen H. Meilaender Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR AMICUS CURIAE INDIANA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION Kent M. Frandsen Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse LLP Lebanon, Indiana

          ATTORNE YS FOR AM IC I C UR IA E J UVEN IL E L AW CENTE R; BARTON CHI LD L AW AND P OL I CY CENTER; EMORY LAW S CHOOL; CENT ER F OR CH ILDREN'S LAW AND PO LI CY; CENTE R ON WRONGFUL C ONV ICTIONS OF YOUTH; AND PAUL HOLLAND Amy E. Karozos Greenwood, Indiana Marsha L. Levick Juvenile Law Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

          OPINION

          RUSH CHIEF JUSTICE

         As today's companion opinion B.A. holds, Miranda warnings protect students-no less than adults at a school-when police place them under custodial interrogation. Custodial interrogation, though, requires police involvement. So when school officials alone meet with students, a clear rule governs: Miranda warnings are not required.

         Here, only an assistant principal interviewed D.Z., so Miranda warnings were not required. We also find no reversible evidentiary error and that sufficient evidence supports D.Z.'s criminal-mischief adjudication, so we affirm the juvenile court.

         Facts and Procedural History

         In early March 2017, sexual graffiti on boys-bathroom walls at Brownsburg High School prompted a school investigation. Assistant Principal Demetrius Dowler soon enlisted school resource officer Nathan Flynn's help finding a suspect. From surveillance video, they pinpointed seventeen-year-old D.Z.

         Assistant Principal Dowler called D.Z. into his office for a closed-door discussion. With only the two of them in the room, Dowler detailed his investigation and said that he knew D.Z. was the culprit. D.Z. remorsefully responded that he didn't know why he did it, that he knew it was wrong, and that he didn't have anything against the girls named in the graffiti.

         Assistant Principal Dowler suspended D.Z. for five days and told Officer Flynn of D.Z.'s confession. Flynn then went into Dowler's office to talk to D.Z., who again confessed. At the end of that conversation, Flynn told D.Z. that he was being charged with a crime.

         The next month, the State filed a delinquency petition alleging that D.Z. committed criminal mischief and harassment. At the factfinding hearing, the parties agreed that D.Z.'s incriminating statements to Officer Flynn should be suppressed since D.Z. was never Mirandized. But they disagreed about the earlier statements ...


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