People in the Interest of A.L.-C.

Police responded to a domestic disturbance involving then 16-year-old A.L.-C., who was feuding with he mother and stepfather on the first floor of the family home. B.O., his sister, told an aunt who was in the house, that A.L.-C. had sexually assaulted her. B.O. repeated her allegations to the police. A.L.-C. was briefly detained, but then returned to his parents. The following day, A.L.-C. and his parents went to the police station for questioning about the alleged sexual assaults. A detective and Spanish interpreter advised the three of A.L.-C.'s "Miranda" rights, then the detective and interpreter stepped out of the room to allow the family to discuss whether A.L.-C. would waive his rights. A videorecorder captured their exchange. Initially, the tape showed the parents individually asking A.L.-C. whether he understood his rights. A.L.-C. replied that he was "always the liar, or the one lying" and told his mother he would rather keep quiet. Whether A.L.-C. meant this as a refusal to speak with his mother or with the police was unclear. Minutes later, the detective and interpreter re-enetered the room and A.L.-C. and his mother both signed the Miranda waiver form. A.L.-C. indicated he understood his rights and agreed to discuss his sister's allegations. A.L.-C.'s stepfather left the room before more questioning began, but his mother remained for its entirety. At issue was A.L.-C.'s statement to his mother outside of police presence. The trial court suppressed A.L.-C.'s incriminating statements, concluding that although his mother was present, she could not protect his right to remain silent because she did not share his interests. The State sought the Colorado Supreme Court's review. Finding that the plain language of section 19-2-511(1) C.R.S. (2016) required only that a parent be present during the advisement and interrogation, the Supreme Court reversed the suppression order. View "People in the Interest of A.L.-C." on Justia Law