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State of Alaska v. J.R.N. (10/28/93), 861 P 2d 578
Notice: This is subject to formal correction before
publication in the Pacific Reporter. Readers are
requested to bring typographical or other formal errors
to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts,
303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, in order that
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THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA
STATE OF ALASKA, ) Supreme Court No. S-4528
Petitioner, ) Court of Appeals No. A-3529
v. ) Trial Court No.
) 3AN-89-505 CP
) O P I N I O N
______________________________) [No. 4018 - October 28, 1993]
Petition for Hearing from the Court of
Appeals of the State of Alaska, on Appeal
from the Superior Court, Third Judicial
District, Anchorage, Peter A. Michalski,
Appearances: John A. Scukanec, Cynthia
M. Hora, Assistant Attorneys General,
Anchorage, Charles E. Cole, Attorney General,
Juneau, for Petitioner. Suzanne Weller,
Assistant Public Defender, John B. Salemi,
Public Defender, Anchorage, for Respondent.
Before: Rabinowitz, Chief Justice,
Burke, Matthews, Compton, and Moore,
When police arrest and detain a juvenile, Alaska
Delinquency Rule 7(b)1 and AS 47.10.1402 require that they
"immediately" notify the juvenile's parents. Police arrested
sixteen-year-old J.R.N. for murder. He confessed and led the
police to critical evidence before the police notified his
father. The court of appeals ordered that J.R.N.'s confession
and the evidence be suppressed based on the court's conclusion
that the police violated DR 7(b). We reverse.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In early October 1989, Duane Samuels was shot three
times and killed; his car was stolen. On October 6, 1989, at
approximately 8:45 a.m., the police found J.R.N. riding in the
stolen vehicle and arrested him. They brought him to an
Anchorage police station.
Shortly after J.R.N.'s arrest, Anchorage Police
Sergeant Michael Grimes contacted the District Attorney's Office
to determine the proper procedure for questioning juveniles. An
assistant district attorney advised Grimes that juveniles must be
asked if they want a parent notified or present before
questioning, but that in the absence of a request by the juvenile
the parents need not be notified before questioning.
Before questioning J.R.N., Sgt. Grimes asked J.R.N. if
he wanted his parents notified. J.R.N. said that he did not.
Sgt. Grimes also read J.R.N. his Miranda3 rights, which J.R.N.
acknowledged. He agreed to talk to the police. At approximately
1:00 p.m. the police interviewed J.R.N. The police videotaped
this interview. During the interview, J.R.N. confessed to
killing Samuels and stealing the automobile.
After the interview, J.R.N. showed the police the
location of the murder weapon and other incriminating evidence.
At 4:00 p.m. the police notified J.R.N.'s father that they had
arrested J.R.N. The father had been available throughout the day
and asserted that he would have come to the police station
earlier if he had been notified of J.R.N.'s arrest.
On October 8, 1989, the State petitioned to prosecute
J.R.N. as an adult, charging him with first-degree murder,
robbery, burglary and theft. Prior to the hearing, J.R.N. moved
to suppress the confession and the evidence obtained as a result
of the confession. The superior court granted the State's
petition and denied J.R.N.'s motion. J.R.N. appealed. On
appeal, the court of appeals reversed the superior court,
concluding that the police had violated DR 7(b) by not
immediately notifying J.R.N.'s parents as soon as he was arrested
and taken to the police station. J.R.N. v. State, 809 P.2d 416
(Alaska App. 1991). It further concluded that exclusion of the
confession and the resulting evidence was the appropriate remedy
for the violation. The State filed a petition for hearing from
The State contends that DR 7(b) and AS 47.10.140(b) are
inconsistent, and that the statute controls. The State argues
that the statute implies a more relaxed definition of
"immediately" than the rule, because the term "immediately" is
modified by the phrase "and in no event more than 12 hours later
. . . ."in the statute, but not in the rule. The State also
argues that this court went beyond its constitutional power to
make rules of "practice and procedure" "in all courts"4 in
promulgating DR 7 because this rule governs conduct by the police
which is not in-court practice or procedure.
While the State's perceived inconsistency is plausible,
the statute and rule can also be reasonably reconciled. We
interpret the term "immediately"to mean the same thing in both
the rule and the statute. In our view the language "in no event
more than 12 hours later"in the statute is not a modification of
"immediately,"but merely sets an outside time limit for parental
notification. Since the rule and the statute have the same
meaning, the fact that the rule may be ultra vires would not be a
basis for overturning the court of appeals' decision, for the
decision would be equally supported by the statute.5
The State also contends that the court of appeals'
decision is inconsistent with our decision in Quick v. State, 599
P.2d 712 (Alaska 1979). We agree.
It is not disputed that the police asked J.R.N. whether
he wanted his parents notified before questioning began. He
answered that he did not want them notified. The dispositive
issue in this case is whether J.R.N. waived his right to have his
parents notified.6 Underlying this issue are two questions. The
first is whether a juvenile may waive his or her right to
parental notification. If the right may be waived, the second
question is whether J.R.N. effectively waived his right to have
his parents notified under the circumstances of this case.
We hold that a juvenile may waive his or her right to
parental notification. The waiver must be a knowing and
voluntary one. Whether J.R.N.'s waiver of his right was knowing
and voluntary must be assessed by the totality of the
circumstances as they existed when he stated that he did not want
his parents notified. This inquiry should be conducted by the
trial court on remand.7
These conclusions are governed by our decision in
Quick. In Quick, police interrogated a seventeen-year-old
juvenile at a police station in connection with a murder
investigation. When he made an incriminating statement the
police considered him to be in custody and advised him of his
Miranda rights. 599 P.2d at 716. He stated that he wished to
waive these rights and, after further questioning, he confessed
to participating in the murder. Id. The juvenile argued that
his confession should be suppressed because his Miranda waiver
was ineffective "as he was not given an opportunity to consult
with a neutral adult or guardian before waiving his rights." Id.
at 718. On appeal, we affirmed, rejecting a rule of per se
exclusion of a juvenile's confession absent a protective adult's
presence. Id. at 719-20.
We defined the issue in Quick as "whether and to what
extent a juvenile can waive Miranda rights without the guidance
of an adult . . . ." Id. at 718. We noted that while some
states had followed a rule of per se prohibition on Miranda
waivers unless a fully informed adult is present, other states
had adopted a "'totality of the circumstances' test in which the
age of the defendant is an important but not decisive factor."
Id. at 719. We adopted the totality of the circumstances
The mere fact that a person is
under the age of majority does not
automatically render him incapable of making
a knowing and voluntary waiver. The
surrounding circumstances must be considered
in each case to determine whether a
particular juvenile had sufficient knowledge
and maturity to make a reasoned decision.
Among the factors to be considered are age,
intelligence, length of the questioning,
education, prior experience with law enforce
ment officers, mental state at the time of
the waiver, and whether there has been any
prior opportunity to consult with a parent,
guardian, or attorney.
Id. We also noted:
It is unquestionably a better
practice to see to it that a juvenile
consults with an adult before he waives his
Miranda rights, but, at least in those cases
where it has not been requested, we decline
to adopt a rule requiring such consultation.
Id. at 719-720.
Since juveniles under arrest can waive their constitu
tional privilege against self-incrimination and their
constitutional right to counsel during interrogation, it
logically follows that they can also waive their statutory right
to have their parents immediately notified. The constitutional
rights concerning self-incrimination and the right to counsel are
legally of a higher order than the statutory right of parental
notification. It would be inconsistent to hold that a juvenile
may waive these constitutional rights but may not waive the
additional statutory right.
Juveniles are not per se incapable of waiving their
right to have their parents immediately notified of their arrest
and detention. Whether J.R.N.'s statement that he did not want
his parents present was a knowing and voluntary waiver of his
right remains for decision. On remand, the trial court should
make such a determination in light of all the circumstances which
existed when he made the statement. The decision of the court of
appeals is REVERSED and this case is REMANDED to the superior
court. We retain jurisdiction.
1 When J.R.N. was arrested, Delinquency Rule 7(b) provided:
If a juvenile is arrested, the juvenile
must be taken immediately to a detention
facility or placement facility designated by
the Department [of Health and Social
Services] or released pursuant to paragraph
(c) of this rule. The arresting officer
shall immediately notify the parents,
guardian and Department of the arrest and
detention or placement, and shall make and
retain a record of the notification. If the
juvenile is arrested under subparagraph
(a)(3) of this rule, prompt notification must
also be given to the Department of Law.
2 AS 47.10.140(a) and (b) provide:
(a) A peace officer may arrest a minor
who violates a law or ordinance in the
officer's presence, or whom the officer
reasonably believes is a fugitive from
justice. A peace officer may continue a
lawful arrest made by a citizen. The officer
may have the minor detained in a juvenile
detention facility if in the officer's
opinion it is necessary to do so to protect
the minor or the community.
(b) A peace officer who has a minor
detained under (a) of this section shall
immediately, and in no event more than 12
hours later, notify the court, the minor's
parents or guardian, and the department of
the officer's action. The department may
file with the court a petition alleging
delinquency before the detention hearing.
3 Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
4 Art. IV 15 of the Alaska Constitution provides:
The supreme court shall make and
promulgate rules governing the administration
of all courts. It shall make and promulgate
rules governing practice and procedure in
civil and criminal cases in all courts.
These rules may be changed by the legislature
by two-thirds vote of the members elected to
5 The court's power to make rules extends beyond the
confines of in-court practice and procedure in some cases. We
have expressed the view that the court has the power to make
rules which interpret common-law, statutory, or constitutional
rights as an adjunct of the judicial power grant contained in
article IV, section 1 of the Alaska Constitution. In the note to
the rule establishing guidelines for child support, Civil Rule
90.3, we authorized the following statement:
This rule is adopted under the supreme
court's interpretive authority pursuant to
Article IV, Section 1 of the Alaska
Constitution. Thus, it may be superseded by
legislation even if the legislation does not
meet the procedural requirements for changing
rules promulgated under Article IV, Section
Interpretive rules which concern a common-law or statutory right
do not occupy the same place in the legal hierarchy as rules of
practice and procedure; such interpretive rules may not be incon
sistent with statutes and they may be repealed or modified by
statute without the two-thirds legislative majority required for
the change of a rule of practice and procedure under article IV,
section 15. In our view DR 7(b) is a rule of interpretation.
6 The right of parental notification runs both to the
arrested juvenile and to the arrested juvenile's parents. In
this case the juvenile is asserting the right. One accused of
crime may assert a violation of another's rights as a basis for
suppression of evidence only where the violation involves
deliberate or shocking police misconduct. Waring v. State, 670
P.2d 357 (Alaska 1983). Since these conditions do not exist
based on the record before us, J.R.N. has no standing to raise a
violation of his parents' rights. The focus in this case must
therefore be on J.R.N.'s right to have his parents notified of
7 We retain jurisdiction of this case pending the trial
court's waiver determination. If the trial court decides that
there was no waiver we will proceed to determine whether the
violation of J.R.N.'s right of parental notification warrants the
exclusionary remedy required by the court of appeals. If the
trial court decides that there was a waiver we will remand this
case for further proceedings. Such proceedings, of course, may
include the right to seek review of the superior court's waiver