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Name: People v. Lessie
Case #: D050019
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/08/2008
Subsequent History: review granted 7/23/08

A minor’s request to speak to his parent does not constitute a per se invocation of the juvenile’s Fifth Amendment rights. Sixteen-year-old Lessie was arrested and convicted of second degree murder with personal use of a firearm, and sentenced to prison for forty years to life. On appeal, he claimed that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his pretrial admissions because the interrogating police officers failed to technically comply with Welfare and Institutions Code section 627, subdivision (b), which holds that a minor has the right to make at least two telephone calls to his parent within an hour after being taken into custody. The court found that in determining whether a minor’s request to speak to his parent is an invocation of Miranda rights, the totality of the circumstances is considered, with the minor’s age, intelligence, and experience being relevant factors. (Fare v. Michael C. (1979) 442 U.S. 707; People v. Lewis (2001) 26 Cal.4th 33.) Here, the record reflected that at the time of the interrogation, although Lessie was sixteen years old, he had completed the tenth grade and had prior experience with the criminal justice system. He was arrested at his relative’s home where he was residing. Prior to actual questioning regarding the shooting, he was provided full Miranda admonitions and willingly answered the questions. Under the totality of these circumstances, he was not found to have invoked his Miranda rights.