Argued: October 30, 2017
from the Marion Superior Court, Juvenile Division, No.
49D09-1602-JD-234 The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge The
Honorable Scott B. Stowers, Magistrate
Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Amy E. Karozos Greenwood, Indiana
Ruth A. Johnson Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Caryn N. Szyper Angela N. Sanchez Kelly A. Loy
Deputy Attorneys General Indianapolis, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR AMICUS CURIAE CENTER ON WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS OF
YOUTH Cara Schaefer Wieneke Wieneke Law Office, LLC Brooklyn,
Indiana Laura Nirider Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
vital mission of educating our youth requires schools to
daily provide safety, security, and student discipline. In
recent decades, schools have turned to resource officers for
help. These officers protect students and staff, offer
mentorship-and, yes, help with discipline and criminal
investigations. As their presence has grown, so too have
questions of students' constitutional rights. Today we
address for the first time one of those questions: when are
students entitled to Miranda warnings at school?
in response to a bomb threat on a bathroom wall,
thirteen-year-old B.A. was escorted from his bus and
questioned in a vice-principal's office. Officers hovered
over B.A. and encouraged him to confess, but no one gave him
that B.A. was in police custody and under police
interrogation, so he should have been Mirandized. We
therefore reverse his delinquency adjudications.
and Procedural History
in pink marker in a Decatur Middle School boys' bathroom
came the threat: "I will Got A bomb in the school Monday
8th 2016 not A Joke." School Resource Officer Tutsie
"immediately went into investigative mode" and soon
narrowed the suspects to two students- including
next Monday, February 8, 2016, school resource officers and
administrators walked through the school and found it safe.
Then, when B.A.'s bus arrived, Vice-Principal Remaly and
School Resource Officer Lyday removed B.A. from his bus and
escorted him to Remaly's office.
sat in front of Remaly's desk while Officer Lyday stood a
few feet away. Early in B.A.'s interview, Officer Tutsie
came in and took Officer Lyday's spot while Officer Lyday
moved to sit at a conference table behind B.A. Around that
same time, a third school resource officer- Officer
Wheeler-came in and sat at the conference table. All three
officers wore police uniforms.
Remaly led the interview, asking if B.A. knew why he was
there. B.A. maintained that he did not. To see if B.A.'s
handwriting matched the bomb threat, Officer Tutsie handed
B.A. written sentences and told B.A. how to copy them.
B.A. copied the sentences, Remaly decided that the
handwriting sample matched the threat and asked B.A. why he
did it. Then Officer Lyday interrupted to say, "Come on,
man, just-just tell the truth." B.A. started crying,
lowered his head, and said "I don't know. I'm
sorry." Remaly then ended the interview-which had lasted
fifteen minutes-and called B.A.'s mother. When she
arrived and asked B.A. what happened, he told her,
"I'm sorry mom, it was a joke" and admitted
that it was a dumb thing to do.
these admissions, Remaly suspended B.A. from school, pending
expulsion. He then turned B.A. over to the school resource
officers, who arrested him and took him to the Marion County
Juvenile Detention Center.
State alleged that B.A. was delinquent for committing false
reporting, a Level 6 felony if committed by an adult, and
institutional criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor if
committed by an adult. B.A. moved to suppress the evidence
from his interview, arguing that he was entitled to
Miranda warnings since he was under custodial
interrogation and that officers failed to secure waiver of
his Miranda rights under Indiana's juvenile
waiver statute. See Ind. Code § 31-32-5-1
(2017). After a hearing, the juvenile court denied the motion
and found B.A. delinquent on both counts.
appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. B.A. v.
State, 73 N.E.3d 720, 730 (Ind.Ct.App. 2017). It held
that Miranda warnings were not required because a
school administrator questioned B.A. for an educational
purpose. Id. We granted transfer, vacating the Court
of Appeals opinion. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).
review the admission of B.A.'s incriminating statements
for an abuse of discretion. See Snow v. State, 77
N.E.3d 173, 176 (Ind. 2017). But the underlying issue-whether
B.A. was under custodial interrogation-is purely legal and
entitled to de novo review. See State v. Brown, 70
N.E.3d 331, 335 (Ind. 2017). We thus first address whether
B.A. was in police custody and then whether he was under
parties agree that Miranda warnings protect students
at school but disagree whether B.A. was entitled to the
warnings. The critical inquiry is whether he was under
custodial interrogation. B.A. argues that he was in custody
under the totality of the circumstances and that he was
interrogated because police officers participated in his
interview. The ...