R. G. and D.G., Appellants,
State of Utah, Appellee.
Certification from the Court of Appeals
Juvenile Court The Honorable Kimberly K. Hornak Nos. 1095932,
Pappas, Monica Maio, Salt Lake City, for appellants
D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., John L. Nielsen, Asst. Sol. Gen.,
Kristin L. Zimmerman, Salt Lake City, for appellee
Justice Durham authored the opinion of the Court, in which
Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice
Himonas, and Justice Pearce joined. 
D.G. and R.G. were accused of aggravated sexual assault in
juvenile court. Both D.G. and R.G. filed a motion to suppress
their post-Miranda statements regarding the sexual
assault to a detective during an interview at their school.
The juvenile court held an evidentiary hearing and denied the
motion to suppress the post-Miranda statements. Both
interviews with the detective regarding the sexual assault
were introduced at trial. D.G. and R.G. were adjudicated
delinquent for committing aggravated sexual assault. The
court of appeals certified the case to this court; we have
jurisdiction pursuant to Utah Code section 78A-3-102(3)(b).
We hold that the juvenile court did not err in denying
D.G.'s and R.G.'s motion to suppress their
post-Miranda statements. And, considering the
totality of the circumstances surrounding their waivers, we
hold that D.G. and R.G. knowingly and voluntarily waived
their Miranda rights during the interview with the
detective at their school.
Near the beginning of the school year in 2013, two
fourteen-year-old boys, D.G. and R.G. went over to another
male friend's house after school. After receiving a phone
call from R.G., the victim and her friend, also both fourteen
years of age, took the bus and joined D.G. and R.G. at the
friend's house. D.G., R.G., and the third friend drove to
the bus stop to pick up the two girls. While at the house,
R.G. held a box cutter to the victim's throat and engaged
in nonconsensual sexual intercourse with the victim. D.G.,
the other boy in the room during the sexual assault, also
engaged in nonconsensual oral sex with the victim.
A few months later, the victim reported the sexual assault
involving D.G. and R.G. to the West Valley City police. A
West Valley City detective conducted individual interviews
with D.G. and R.G. at their school in the school resource
officer's office without a parent present for either
minor. D.G. was interviewed first, and R.G.'s interview
At the beginning of D.G.'s interview, the detective told
D.G. why he was there and described his role as a detective.
He asked D.G.: "You know what we do, right, police
detectives? You know, we investigate things that may be
crimes." The detective told D.G., "I just have to
let you know that you don't have to talk to me." He
then recited the Miranda rights to D.G. without
pausing to check for understanding until after the rehearsed
speech. Following the warning, the detective informed D.G.
that he could "stop answering questions at any time and
[he could] request counsel at any time during
questioning." He asked D.G., "Do you understand
those rights?" Then, the detective informed D.G. that he
was not under arrest and he was not telling him anything to
make him scared. The detective again asked, "Having
those rights in mind, can I let you know [why] I'm here,
you want to talk to me, tell me what is going on?" D.G.
agreed to talk with the detective and eventually confessed to
participating in non-consensual sex with the victim at the
request of R.G.
As R.G.'s interview began, the detective said to R.G.:
"The law makes sure and requires me to tell you what
your rights are, okay?" The detective then recited the
Miranda warning to R.G. from memory. His recitation
was without the intonation and inflections that normally
gives meaning and nuance in verbal speech. The volume of his
voice lowers, and he speaks quickly in a well-rehearsed
speech. The detective then asked R.G. the following
questions: "Do you understand those rights?"
"Having those rights in mind, can I talk to you?"
and "Do you want to talk to me?" R.G. then
proceeded to talk to the detective, eventually confessing to
actions that amount to aggravated sexual assault.
In February 2014, the state filed a petition in juvenile
court alleging aggravated sexual assault against D.G. and
R.G. based on testimony from the victim and the confessions
obtained in these interviews. D.G. and R.G. each filed a
Motion to Suppress Statements and Request for Evidentiary
Hearing, arguing that their Miranda waivers to the
detective during the interviews at the school were not
"made knowingly and voluntarily in violation of the
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments." Each later filed an
amended motion to suppress.
The juvenile court held an evidentiary hearing regarding the
Miranda waivers and the motion to suppress. Both of
the boys' mothers and the detective testified at the
hearing. The juvenile court denied D.G.'s and R.G.'s
motions to suppress their testimony given during their
interviews with the detective, and the statements were later
introduced at trial. The juvenile court found that the
detective asked D.G. and R.G. questions to be sure they
understood their rights and that D.G. and R.G. were honors
students capable of understanding their rights, and held that
the Miranda rights waivers were valid.
After a bench trial, the juvenile court adjudicated both D.G.
and R.G. delinquent for committing aggravated sexual assault.
D.G.'s sentence included state supervised probation,
completion of an early intervention program, a five-day
detention, a Sexual Behavior Risk Assessment (SBRA), 150
hours of community service, and a requirement to provide
fingerprints, a photograph, and a DNA specimen. R.G.'s
sentence included state supervised probation, 150 hours of
community service, one day of detention, an SBRA, a
requirement to provide fingerprints, a photograph, and a DNA
specimen, a no-contact order with D.G., and completion of an
early intervention program. D.G. and R.G. filed motions to
stay their sentence and timely appealed. The record is silent
on the court's decision regarding D.G.'s motion to
stay. The juvenile court granted R.G.'s Motion to stay
the SBRA, DNA sample, and fingerprinting pending appeal, but
not the community service.
The issue now before this court is whether D.G. and R.G.
knowingly and voluntarily waived their Miranda
rights during the interview with the detective at their
school. We hold that the Miranda warnings given to
D.G. and R.G. were sufficient according to the standards this
court and the United States Supreme Court have set, and that
both D.G. and R.G. knowingly and voluntarily waived their
Miranda rights. Accordingly, we hold that the
juvenile court did not err in denying the motion to suppress
their post-Miranda statements.
"We review for correctness a trial court's ultimate
ruling regarding the validity of a Miranda waiver,
while 'granting some degree of discretion to the trial
court because of the wide variety of factual settings
possible.'" State v. Bybee, 2000 UT 43,
¶ 16, 1 P.3d 1087 (citations omitted). The findings of
fact of the trial court are reviewed for clear error.
We begin our analysis by discussing the unique purposes and
development of the juvenile justice system. We then turn to a
discussion of Miranda and its application to
juvenile suspects. Finally, we analyze D.G.'s and