This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






In the Matter of the Welfare of B.D.B.


Filed September 7, 2004


Gordon W. Shumaker, Judge


Steele County District Court

File No. J1-04-50013




Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and


Douglas L. Ruth, Steele County Attorney, Daniel A. McIntosh, Assistant Steele County Attorney, 303 S. Cedar, Owatonna, MN 55060 (for appellant State of Minnesota)


Mark D. Nyvold, Special Assistant Public Defender, First National Bank Building, Suite W-1610, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent B.D.B.)




            Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Harten, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant State of Minnesota argues that the district court erred in suppressing evidence as violative of the Miranda rule because respondent’s statements were voluntary and not the product of interrogation.  The court did not commit clear error in suppressing the evidence and dismissing the case.  Thus, we affirm.


            The district court suppressed certain incriminating statements by B.D.B., a juvenile, and then dismissed the charges against him for lack of probable cause.  The state contends that the court erred in both rulings.

            The court found that a Steele County deputy sheriff arrested B.D.B. at his home on suspicion of terroristic threats.  En route to the county law-enforcement center, B.D.B. offered to provide the deputy with information about various crimes if the deputy would help him get placed in Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center rather than another detention facility.  The deputy had not given a Miranda warning, but he did advise B.D.B. not to talk to him.  B.D.B. persisted in his offer to give information about sales of controlled substances and thefts of guns.  The court concluded that B.D.B.’s statements en route to the law-enforcement center were voluntary, and the court denied the motion to suppress them.

            When they reached the law-enforcement center, the deputy interviewed B.D.B. without first giving a Miranda warning and without having either of B.D.B.’s parents present.  After the deputy’s interview, an Owatonna police officer interviewed B.D.B., after giving a Miranda warning.

            The information B.D.B. gave in the interviews with the deputy and the police officer led to a search of two area homes and the recovery of stolen guns.  Two of the guns found in one of the homes had been stolen from B.D.B.’s father.  Further investigation linked B.D.B. to the theft of his father’s guns.  Ultimately, the police arrested B.D.B., and the state charged him with theft, possession of stolen property, and burglary.

            The district court suppressed the statements B.D.B. made to the deputy at the law-enforcement center because they were obtained in violation of the Miranda rule.  The court also suppressed statements made by another individual that linked B.D.B. to the stolen guns on the ground that those statements were derived from the information the deputy improperly obtained from B.D.B.  Without the statements linking B.D.B. to the stolen guns, the court concluded that there was no probable cause to support the charges against B.D.B. and dismissed the charges.


            In this pretrial appeal, the state must first show “clearly and unequivocally that the trial court has erred in its judgment and that, unless reversed, the error will have a critical impact on the outcome of the trial.”  State v. Edrozo, 578 N.W.2d 719, 722 (Minn. 1998) (quoting State v. Webber, 262 N.W.2d 157, 159 (Minn. 1977)).  Because the district court dismissed the charges against B.D.B., we conclude that the state has carried its burden to show the requisite critical impact on the case.

            The state contends that the district court erred in suppressing B.D.B.’s statements because they were voluntary and did not result from police interrogation.  A Miranda warning is required before custodial interrogation.  Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 1612 (1966); see also State v. Lloyd, 297 Minn. 442, 445, 212 N.W.2d 671, 674 (1973) (extending Miranda protection to juveniles who are subject to custodial interrogation).  If the police take a person into custody and then ask questions without first informing him of his Miranda rights, his responses generally cannot be introduced into evidence.  Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 429, 104 S. Ct. 3138, 3144-45 (1984); Edrozo, 578 N.W.2d at 724.

            There is no dispute that B.D.B. was in custody at the time of the deputy’s interview at the law-enforcement center.  Thus, the first prong of the Miranda inquiry is satisfied.  See Edrozo, 578 N.W.2d at 724 (holding that the first prong of inquiry under Miranda is a determination of whether the suspect was in custody when he was questioned). 

The state argues that the deputy did not interrogate B.D.B.  Miranda safeguards apply “whenever a person in custody is subjected to either express questioning or its functional equivalent.”  Id. (quoting Miranda, 446 U.S. at 300-301, 100 S. Ct. at 1689).  The functional equivalent of interrogation means “any words or actions on the part of the police that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.”  Id. (quoting Miranda, 446 U.S. at 301, 100 S. Ct. at 1689-90).  Police conduct triggers a Miranda warning if the suspect feels pressure “to curry approval or gain more lenient treatment through cooperation with the police, when the one to whom [the accused] is speaking” has apparent control over the suspect’s future.  Id. at 725 (citing Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292, 297, 110 S. Ct. 2394, 2397) (“when, from the perspective of the speaker, statements are freely given to someone other than law enforcement officials, the necessary interplay between police interrogation and custody that creates coercion is not present”).

            The deputy testified that when they arrived at the law-enforcement center he brought B.D.B. into his office “and indicated that I would like to hear what he had to say and that I’d do everything within my power to get him placed at Crossroads.”  On cross-examination, B.D.B.’s attorney asked the deputy about the Crossroads discussion:

Q.        In speaking with you, [B.D.B.] was under the impression that if he did speak to you he would have to go to Crossroads, is that right?


A.        That was the plan.


            The state argues that the deputy did not expect B.D.B. to give incriminating information because there were no questions about the crime for which B.D.B. was arrested, B.D.B. was not the target of any investigation regarding controlled substances or stolen firearms, and the deputy’s questioning “was only geared at what B.D.B. knew about these items and how he knew it.”  The district court found that the deputy asked B.D.B. whether he possessed controlled substances, participated in the theft of guns, or was present during drug sales or gun thefts.  And the court concluded that the deputy should have known that such questions were likely to elicit an incriminating response.

            Considering the setting of the interview, the absence of either of B.D.B.’s parents, B.D.B.’s repeated requests for a Crossroads placement and the deputy’s willingness to help obtain such placement, and the deputy’s questions about B.D.B.’s involvement with drugs and stolen guns, we conclude that the district court did not commit clear error in ruling that Miranda applied and was violated.

            As to the derivative evidence that the court suppressed, the state makes no separate argument.  Thus, we need not consider the correctness of the court’s ruling.  See State v. Krosch, 642 N.W.2d 713, 719 (Minn. 2002) (stating claims of error are deemed waived of they are not supported by argument or citation to legal authority).