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Recorded Confessions; Sentence Credit – Predisposition Secure Detention

State v. Dionicia M., 2010 WI App 134; for Dionicia M.: Andrew Hinkel, SPD Madison Appellate

Recorded Confessions

The juvenile was in custody when she was directed to the locked back seat of a patrol car so that she could be transported back to school after being reported truant; and, because it was feasible under the circumstances to record her ensuing statement, failure to do so rendered it inadmissible.

¶10      The juvenile court concluded that Dionicia was in custody while in the back seat of Kraeger’s patrol car, and we agree. Kraeger sought out Dionicia at the school’s request because she was truant. He told her he intended to take her back to school, and he directed her to the locked back seat of his patrol car. Once she was in the locked car, he questioned her about her involvement in a crime. A reasonable person, particularly a fifteen-year-old, would not feel free to leave the back of a patrol car under these circumstances. From the time Dionicia entered Kraeger’s patrol car, she was in custody.

¶14      Contrary to the State’s argument, the mere fact that Kraeger did not have a recording device in his squad car did not make it unfeasible for him to record the interrogation. “Feasible” in this context is not a synonym for “effortless.” Although Kraeger may not have been capable of recording the initial conversation while in the squad car, nothing prevented him from waiting to question Dionicia until after the short time it took to return to school. As Dionicia points out, if the police are excused from complying with Jerrell C.J. whenever the slightest effort is required to record an interrogation, the Jerrell C.J. rule becomes meaningless.

The court also rejects the idea that the juvenile’s subsequent, recorded statement is admissible: “Jerrell C.J. does not allow the admission of partially recorded interrogations of juveniles. … The custodial interrogation of Dionicia, which began in the squad car and continued in the school office, was not recorded in full. Therefore, the juvenile court should have suppressed the interrogation in its entirety,” ¶16.

Sentence Credit – Predisposition Secure Detention

Time spent in predisposition secure detention supports disposition credit.

¶6        … During the pendency of the case, Dionicia had been placed in shelter care.  She failed to return to shelter care on the evening of March 5, 2009. As a result, she was placed in secure detention from March 6 to March 10. …

¶21      … Were it not for Dionicia’s original course of conduct—the battery—she would not have been placed in shelter care, and there would have been no authority to confine her in secure detention for failing to return to shelter care. Her time in secure detention was therefore connected to the original course of conduct, since that conduct provided the legal authority to detain her. As a result, WIS. STAT. § 938.34(3)(f)1. entitles Dionicia to credit, just as WIS. STAT. § 973.155(1)(a) entitles an analogous adult defendant to credit.

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