449 U.S. 1043 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court

DAVID LEVELL W. v. CALIFORNIA , 449 U.S. 1043 (1980)

449 U.S. 1043

No. 80-5058

Supreme Court of the United States

December 8, 1980

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeal of California for the Second Appellate District.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice MARSHALL, dissenting.

Petitioner, a 13-year-old minor, was taken from his home to a police station for questioning by police officers who had neither an arrest warrant nor probable cause for his arrest. The court below held that there was no violation of petitioner's constitutional rights because the officers acted on instructions from his mother. Because I believe the case presents an important question concerning a parent's authority to waive her minor child's right under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to be free from "unreasonable seizures," I dissent from denial of the petition for a writ of certiorari.


On March 8, 1979, an investigator with the Los Angeles Police Department told two of his subordinates that he had been in contact with a mother about one of her children who allegedly had been involved in a burglary. He told the officers that the mother had agreed to bring the minor to the police station the previous day but had failed to do so, and he instructed the officers to go to the woman's house and find out when she would bring her son to the station.

At the house, the officers were invited into a bedroom where they saw petitioner's mother lying in bed. The officers informed her of the reason for their visit and asked why she had not brought her son to the police station the previous day as she had promised. Petitioner's mother explained that her car had broken down, and when the officers asked her if

Page 449 U.S. 1043 , 1044

she could bring the boy in that day, she told them that her car was still not working. The officers next inquired where her son was. The mother pointed to petitioner, who was lying in another bed in the same room, and told him to wake up. The officers then asked her when she would be able to bring her son in and she replied: "Well, you officers are here. You can take him down." She told the officers that she had been having trouble with her son and wanted to know if he had been involved in a burglary so she could notify his probation officer. She then told petitioner to get out of bed and get dressed because the officers were waiting for him. Petitioner dressed and left the house with the officers, who placed him in handcuffs before driving him to the police station. At the station, petitioner was given the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). He indicated that he understood them, waived his rights, and confessed to the burglary. 1

A petition was filed against petitioner in juvenile court charging him with burglary in violation of 459 of the Cal.Penal Code Ann. (West Supp.1980). Petitioner filed a motion to suppress the confession he made at the police station as the fruit of an illegal arrest. At the combined suppression and adjudication hearing, the State conceded that the police officers had neither an arrest warrant nor probable cause to arrest petitioner at the time he was taken to the station for questioning. Nonetheless, the court denied the suppression motion and relied on the confession in sustaining the charge against petitioner. At the dispositional hearing, the court ordered that petitioner be removed from the custody of his mother. Physical confinement was set at a maximum period of two years. [449 U.S. 1043 , 1045]

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