In re CL, 03-606.

Citation2004 MT 71, 87 P.3d 462, 320 Mont. 369
Case DateMarch 23, 2004
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

87 P.3d 462
2004 MT 71
320 Mont. 369

In the Matter of C.L., A Youth

No. 03-606.

Supreme Court of Montana.

Submitted on Briefs February 10, 2004.

Decided March 23, 2004.

87 P.3d 463
For Appellant: Lawrence A. LaFountain, Deputy Public Defender, Great Falls, Montana

For Respondent: Mike McGrath, Attorney General; Jim Wheelis, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Brant Light, Cascade County Attorney, Great Falls, Montana.

Chief Justice KARLA M. GRAY delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶ 1 C.L. appeals from the dispositional order entered by the Eighth Judicial District Youth Court, Cascade County, finding him to be a delinquent youth and placing him on formal probation until the age of eighteen. We affirm.

¶ 2 The issue on appeal is whether the Youth Court erred in denying C.L.'s motion to suppress his confession.


¶ 3 On September 10, 2002, a fire broke out in a residence on Sixth Avenue South West in Great Falls, Montana. Subsequent investigation by Great Falls Police Department (GFPD) detectives revealed that the fire started while three individuals in the residence were attempting to manufacture methamphetamine. C.L. was identified as one of the individuals. Later that day and in an attempt to locate C.L., one of the investigating detectives spoke with C.L.'s mother, B.L. B.L. did not know where C.L. was at the time, but the following day she telephoned the detective to tell him C.L. was at home. Detective Pat Brinkman (Brinkman) and a second detective went to C.L.'s home to speak with him.

¶ 4 On reaching the residence, the two detectives informed C.L. and B.L. that they wished to speak to C.L. regarding the fire the previous day. Brinkman informed both C.L. and B.L. of C.L.'s Miranda rights and, because C.L. was only fifteen years old, Brinkman had B.L. sign a form agreeing to waive C.L.'s rights. The detectives then transported C.L. to the GFPD for an interview. The detectives told B.L. she could accompany C.L. to the interview, but she declined to do so.

¶ 5 At the GFPD, Brinkman took C.L. to an interview room and again informed C.L. of his Miranda rights; C.L. then signed a form agreeing to waive his rights. During the following videotaped interview, C.L. admitted being involved in attempting to manufacture methamphetamine. The State of Montana (State) subsequently filed a petition in the Youth Court alleging C.L. committed the felony offense of operating an unlawful clandestine laboratory and requesting he be declared a delinquent youth.

¶ 6 During the Youth Court proceedings, C.L. moved to suppress his confession. After a hearing, the Youth Court denied the motion. C.L. then pleaded true to the allegations of the petition and expressly reserved his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. The Youth Court accepted the plea, declared C.L. to be a delinquent youth and entered a dispositional order. C.L. appeals.


¶ 7 We review a district court's ruling on a motion to suppress to determine whether the court's findings of fact are clearly erroneous and whether those findings were correctly applied as a matter of law. State v. Hoffman, 2003 MT 26, ¶ 16, 314 Mont. 155, ¶ 16, 64 P.3d 1013, ¶ 16.


¶ 8 Did the Youth Court err in denying C.L.'s motion to suppress his confession?

¶ 9 Section 41-5-331, MCA, provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(1) When a youth is taken into custody for questioning upon a matter that could result in a petition alleging that the youth is either a delinquent

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2 cases
  • In re R.L.H., 03-673.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 19, 2005
    ...That admissions are made voluntarily is all that is required for a confession to be admissible in a Youth Court proceeding. Matter of C.L., 2004 MT 71, ¶¶ 9-17, 320 Mont. 369, ¶¶ 9-17, 87 P.3d 462, ¶¶ 9-17; see also State v. Stevens (1921), 60 Mont. 390, 401, 199 P. 256, 259. The State did ......
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • March 23, 2004
    ...difficult "work product" and "attorney-client" problems affecting the underlying case. The practice also allows for undue leverage to be 87 P.3d 462 exerted by forcing the insurer to face the prospect of two lawsuits with the additional costs incurred for Fode, 221 Mont. at 287, 719 P.2d 41......

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