When does questioning of a middle school student by the principal and in the presence of the school resource officer (SRO) constitute a custodial interrogation? The Court of Appeals of North Carolina issued a decision last week, In re D.A.H. ___ N.C. App. ___, 2021-NCCOA-135 (April 20, 2021), that details the legal analysis necessary to answer this question. The decision reviews the unique characteristics and law related to schoolhouse questioning and identifies seven factors most relevant to determining whether a juvenile is in custody and three factors most relevant to determining whether questioning is an interrogation. The application of this analysis to the facts of the case offers an important takeaway—the legal analysis must focus on an objective reasonable child standard and not on a particular child’s subjective familiarity with an SRO who is regularly present in the school environment.
What circumstances constitute custodial interrogation in a school setting? Who counts as a guardian or custodian for the purpose of a custodial interrogation of a juvenile? Under what circumstances can a juvenile waive their rights that attach during a custodial interrogation? A new Juvenile Law Bulletin on Juvenile Interrogation is now available as a School … Read more