Skip to content
Name: U.S. v. IMM
Case #: 11-10317
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/31/2014

Juvenile defendant was in custody for Miranda purposes when he was questioned at a police station by a detective who used aggressive, coercive, and deceptive interrogation tactics. Twelve-year-old minor IMM was convicted of federal offenses for sexually abusing his six-year-old cousin. Prior to trial, IMM moved to suppress an inculpatory statement that he made to police on the ground that it was obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436. The court denied the motion, concluding that IMM was not in custody when the statement was made. IMM challenged this ruling on appeal. Held: Reversed. In determining whether an individual is in custody for Miranda purposes when questioned, the totality of the circumstances are examined to determine whether a reasonable person would believe he or she may terminate the interrogation. Applying the five factors set forth in United States v. Kim (9th Cir. 2002) 292 F.3d 969, the court concluded that IMM was in custody. Although IMM’s mother agreed to a voluntary meeting with the detective (who then drove mother and IMM 30 to 40 minutes to a police station), there was no evidence IMM agreed to the interview and understood it was voluntary. He was questioned in a small room without his mother for nearly an hour. When the detective was not present, IMM was left in the room with the door closed and was ordered to knock if he needed to use the bathroom. The questioning was hostile and accusatory, with the detective employing deception and psychological coercion. Taking into account IMM’s status as a juvenile, a reasonable person in his position would not have felt free to terminate the questioning and leave. Although IMM’s mother was read the Miranda warnings, there was no evidence that IMM participated in the discussion of the form, or even listened to the discussion.