In re H.V.

Decision Date11 April 2008
Docket NumberNo. 06-0005.,06-0005.
Citation252 S.W.3d 319
PartiesIn the Matter of H.V.
CourtTexas Supreme Court

Tim Curry, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney, Charles M. Mallin, Anne E. Swenson, David M. Curl, Assistant Criminal District Attorneys, Fort Worth, TX, for Petitioner.

Michael Shawn Matlock, The Matlock Law Firm, Fort Worth, TX, for Respondent.

Justice BRISTER delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice O'NEILL, Justice MEDINA, Justice JOHNSON, and Justice WILLETT joined.

This is the first appeal under a 2003 statute allowing appellate review of certain orders suppressing evidence in juvenile justice cases.1 Because the statute contains no express grant of jurisdiction to this Court, we may review such interlocutory orders only if they fall within our general jurisdictional statutes, which were also amended in 2003. Finding that we have such jurisdiction, we affirm the court of appeals' opinion in part and reverse in part.

I. Background

Evidence presented at the suppression hearing here showed that sixteen-year-old H.V. bought a gun on September 7, 2003. Two days later he was seen leaving North Crowley High School with Daniel Oltmanns. The next day, Oltmanns's body was found at a construction site with wounds indicating he had been shot in the head.

The following morning, a police detective met with H.V. at the high school and asked him to accompany her downtown for questioning. He agreed and was taken to a juvenile processing center. After receiving the required warnings from a magistrate,2 H.V. waived his rights and gave a statement admitting he had bought a gun but claiming he had returned it before Oltmanns was shot. The statement was typed up and H.V. signed it, after which he was returned to school.

That afternoon, police officers visited H.V. and his father at their home and asked them to leave the premises pending arrival of a search warrant. They did so, but shortly thereafter H.V. returned, and an off-duty policeman saw him carrying a bloodstained carpet over the back fence of the home. H.V. was arrested on a charge of evidence tampering, and again taken to the juvenile processing facility where he was again given warnings by a magistrate.3

When asked whether he wanted to waive his rights and speak to police, H.V. said he wanted to speak to his mother, but was told he could not. H.V. then responded that he "wanted his mother to ask for an attorney." When the magistrate responded that only he (not his mother) could ask for an attorney, H.V. replied, "But, I'm only sixteen." The magistrate then reiterated that only he could ask for an attorney, after which H.V. eventually said he would talk to the police. In a second written statement, H.V. claimed Oltmanns accidentally shot himself with H.V.'s gun, after which H.V. placed him in a bathtub where he bled to death. Based on a drawing by H.V., police recovered the gun from a storm sewer close to H.V.'s home.

Finding that H.V. had invoked his right to counsel during custodial interrogation, the trial court suppressed both H.V.'s second written statement and the gun, and the court of appeals affirmed.4 The State brings this appeal from a juvenile court order suppressing evidence in a case involving a violent offender.5 As this question does not turn on an evaluation of demeanor or credibility (as discussed below), we review the question de novo.6

II. Jurisdiction of Pretrial Suppression Orders

The parties both assume we have jurisdiction, but that of course does not dispose of the matter.7 In a single paragraph, the State alleges jurisdiction based on an error of law that requires correction8 But that jurisdiction does not include most interlocutory appeals,9 which this pretrial suppression order surely is.10 Our sister court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, routinely reviews pretrial suppression orders in criminal cases involving adults.11 But the jurisdictional statute for that Court appears to be broader than ours,12 and in any event does not expressly limit interlocutory appeals — as ours does.

We have not addressed this question before because this appeal is the first of its kind. Although government appeals of suppression orders are common in criminal cases,13 similar appeals in juvenile justice cases became available in Texas only in 2003, when the Family Code was amended to allow them in cases involving violent or habitual offenders:

(b) The state is entitled to appeal an order of a court in a juvenile case in which the grand jury has approved of the petition under Section 53.045 [concerning violent or habitual offenders] if the order ... grants a motion to suppress evidence, a confession, or an admission and if:

(A) jeopardy has not attached in the case;

(B) the prosecuting attorney certifies to the trial court that the appeal is not taken for the purpose of delay; and

(C) the evidence, confession, or admission is of substantial importance in the case.14

The new statute contemplates review in this Court,15 but there is no grant of jurisdiction other than as in civil cases generally:

An appeal from an order of a juvenile court is to a court of appeals and the case may be carried to the Texas Supreme Court by writ of error or upon certificate, as in civil cases generally.16

In the absence of a specific statutory grant, or of a dissent in the court of appeals,17 we thus have jurisdiction of this interlocutory appeal only if (as in civil cases generally) the court of appeals opinion "holds differently from a prior decision of another court of appeals or of the supreme court."18

This presents two interesting questions here. First, because this is the first appeal of a suppression order in a juvenile justice case, there can be no conflicts if the scope of comparison is limited to just those appeals. But our conflicts jurisdiction is no longer limited to rulings that are "so far upon the same state of facts that the decision of one case is necessarily conclusive of the decision in the other."19 For cases filed after 2003 (as this one was),20 a conflict is sufficient for jurisdiction "when there is inconsistency in the[] respective decisions that should be clarified to remove unnecessary uncertainty in the law and unfairness to litigants."21

Second, our conflicts jurisdiction is generally limited to cases that conflict with "a prior decision of another court of appeals or of the supreme court."22 Juvenile cases, though classified as civil proceedings, are quasi-criminal in nature and frequently concern constitutional rights and procedures normally found only in criminal law.23 This Court rarely addresses issues like the one here concerning the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona;24 indeed, our citation to that case in this sentence is only the second in the Court's history,25 compared to almost 2,000 cases citing it by other Texas state courts. Instead, the law governing such issues is generally found in opinions from the United States Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals — two courts that are not listed in our jurisdictional statute. While this is perhaps a matter for legislative attention, it is not one we can disregard.26

Accordingly, we have jurisdiction in this case if the court of appeals has held differently from a prior decision of another court of appeals on an issue that should be clarified to remove uncertainty or unfairness. We believe there is such a conflict. In suppressing the alleged murder weapon for a Miranda violation, the court of appeals held differently from other courts of appeals that have followed Baker v. State, an opinion by the Court of Criminal Appeals.27 While these other cases did not involve juveniles, the conflict requires clarification for several reasons.

First, rules governing hundreds of out-of-court investigations must provide guidance that is clear and easy for law enforcement personnel to apply;28 variations between the rules for juveniles and adults, or between the rules in one part of the state and another, may confuse those investigations and jeopardize many future cases. Second, we do not have the luxury of waiting for a final appeal to address these issues; if evidence is improperly suppressed, double jeopardy prevents the state from appealing after a juvenile is acquitted or the case dismissed for lack of admissible evidence.29 Finally, we are especially cognizant of rendering fairness to the litigants in a case like this involving the most serious of crimes, an alleged murder.

Despite the expansion of our conflicts jurisdiction, we remain reticent to address unsettled questions that may be clarified by developments during trial and thoughtful consideration by several intermediate courts. But the unique circumstances of juvenile proceedings — "an unlikely and sometimes perplexing hybrid of civil and criminal law"30 — convince us that the conflicts involved here must be clarified "to remove unnecessary uncertainty in the law and unfairness to litigants."31 Accordingly, we have jurisdiction to consider the State's appeal.

III. Did H.V. Invoke His Right to Counsel?

Miranda v. Arizona requires that suspects in custody be informed before questioning begins of their right to consult with an attorney.32 If a suspect invokes that right, there can be no further interrogation unless the accused initiates it.33 If Miranda warnings are not given or a request for counsel is ignored, any subsequent statements by the suspect cannot be introduced at trial during the prosecution's case-in-chief.34

These rights apply to juveniles just as they do to adults.35 Thus, the State concedes in this case that if H.V. properly invoked his right to counsel, the second statement he made thereafter should be suppressed. The only dispute is whether he invoked that right.

In Davis v. United States, the United States Supreme Court established a "bright line" between suspects who might be asking for a lawyer and those who actually ...

To continue reading

Request your trial
48 cases
  • State v. Edler
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court
    • July 12, 2013
    ...been told of his or her constitutional rights. Supra, ¶ 2 n. 2. 1.Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). 2.In re H.V., 252 S.W.3d 319, 326 (Tex.2008) (footnote omitted). 3.Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). 4. Neverthele......
  • State v. Navigator
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • June 10, 2016
    ...See TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 59.05(a), (b), (e) (confirming forfeiture proceedings are civil in nature); see also In re H.V., 252 S.W.3d 319, 323–30 (Tex.2008) (discussing Miranda and other authorities routinely cited in the criminal context in a juvenile case).The trial court's decision ......
  • Tucker v. Thomas
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • January 18, 2012
    ...Ross's duty as a parent to support his minor children includes a duty to provide them with necessaries.3See id.; In re H.V., 252 S.W.3d 319, 327, n. 55 (Tex.2008) (concluding that a parent's duty of support includes a duty to pay for the “necessaries” of the parent's children); In re W.J.S.......
  • Davis v. State
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 16, 2010
    ...v. Younger, 398 F.3d 1179, 1187-88 (9th Cir.2005). 53 Burket v. Angelone, 208 F.3d 172, 197-98 (4th Cir.2000). See also In re H.V., 252 S.W.3d 319 (Tex.2008) (citing Burket); Clark v. Murphy, 331 F.3d 1062, 1071 (9th Cir. 2003) (contrasting two pre-Davis cases that held similar language to ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Aedpa's Ratchet: Invoking the Miranda Right to Counsel After the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
    • United States
    • University of Whashington School of Law University of Washington Law Review No. 86-4, June 2017
    • Invalid date
    ...majority's holding that suspect's requests to speak to his mother constituted an invocation of his Miranda rights); In re H.V., 252 S.W.3d 319, 331 n.2 (Tex. 2008) (Jefferson, J., dissenting) (with reference to Clark's habeas posture, rejecting majority's holding that suspect's statement th......
  • Chapter 3-1 Breach of Contract
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Texas Commercial Causes of Action Claims Title Chapter 3 Contract and Commercial Litigation*
    • Invalid date
    ...Antwine v. Reed, 199 S.W.2d 482, 485 (Tex. 1947).[63] Bowles v. Fickas, 167 S.W.2d 741, 742-43 (Tex. 1943).[64] See In re H.V., 252 S.W.3d 319, n.55 (Tex. 2008) (collecting TX cases holding contract of a minor is voidable at minor's election and not void).[65] Mandell & Wright v. Thomas, 44......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT