Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 289th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2015JUV00891 Honorable Daphne Previti Austin, Judge
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice
Irene Rios, Justice
Elena D. Chapa, Justice
trial court adjudicated S.C.,  a juvenile, delinquent for burglary of a
habitation and placed him on probation for twelve months. On
appeal, SC argues the trial court erred by not suppressing
evidence of oral statements he made while he was in custody
and evidence obtained from an illegal search of his home.
Although we conclude S.C. was not in custody, we hold the
search of his home was unreasonable. We therefore reverse the
trial court's judgment and remand this case for further
Friday evening in 2015, San Antonio Police Department Officer
Charles Kholleppel received a report of a burglary on the
west wide of San Antonio. He spoke with a person who
witnessed the burglary, and this witness personally knew the
individuals who broke into the house. The witness identified
them as S.C. and his brother, V.C., and told Officer
Kholleppel where they lived. The stolen property included a
video game console, $10, 000 in cash, and other "small
Kholleppel went to S.C.'s home and spoke with a woman who
said she was S.C.'s mother. She told Officer Kholleppel that S.C. was
playing basketball down the street. Officer Kholleppel found
S.C. and asked him several questions. S.C. told Officer
Kholleppel he was fifteen years old and in the eighth grade.
Officer Kholleppel and S.C. went back to the house, and
Officer Kholleppel asked him about the burglary in the
presence of his mother. During Officer Kholleppel's
discussion with S.C. and his mother, two other SAPD officers
Kholleppel observed S.C. "jumping around, "
"moving his hands around, " and being
"fidgety, " and he therefore placed S.C. in
handcuffs. He told S.C. he was "all over the place"
and he was only being detained and not under arrest. Officer
Hector Perez, one of the other officers who arrived, also
told S.C. he was only being detained. Officer Kholleppel
placed a handcuffed S.C. in the back of Officer Perez's
patrol car and asked S.C.'s mother for consent to enter
the house. S.C's mother expressly refused numerous times
to allow the officers to go inside the house without a
warrant. During their conversation with S.C. and his mother,
the officers repeatedly stated the burglary victim would not
press charges if all of the property were returned.
eight minutes after being placed in the patrol car, and after
S.C.'s mother refused multiple times to allow the
officers in the house, Officer Perez approached his patrol
car and asked S.C. whether S.C. "wanted to talk" to
him and S.C. stated he did. Officer Perez told S.C. that if
he did not return the stolen property and the property was
found inside the house, his grandmother, who owned the house,
could be arrested. S.C. then told Officer Kholleppel the
stolen property was inside the house. According to Officer
Kholleppel, SC agreed to show him where the stolen property
Perez removed S.C. from the patrol car and then removed the
handcuffs. Officer Kholleppel followed S.C. into the house,
and told his mother that S.C. was going to show him where the
stolen property was to "save y'all a headache."
S.C.'s mother did not further object at that time.
Officer Kholleppel followed S.C. into his bedroom, where S.C.
retrieved an Xbox, a video game, and DVDs, but not the $10,
000 in cash. S.C. remained at the house and was not further
detained or arrested that evening. An SAPD detective later
arrived at the house and took photos of and fingerprints from
the items. Several other SAPD officers searched for V.C., who
had allegedly absconded with the $10, 000 in cash.
State filed a petition alleging S.C. was a juvenile who had
engaged in the delinquent conduct of burglary of a
habitation. S.C. filed a motion to suppress, alleging the
State obtained evidence in violation of state and federal
law. S.C. argued he made oral statements during a custodial
interrogation without having been taken before a magistrate
and advised of his rights, and SAPD officers obtained
evidence from an unreasonable warrantless search. At the
suppression hearing, the trial court denied S.C.'s
motion. S.C. then pled true to the delinquency allegation,
and the trial court signed orders of adjudication and
disposition. S.C. timely filed this appeal.
reviewing a trial court's ruling on a juvenile's
motion to suppress, we employ the standard of review used in
criminal cases. In re S.J., 977 S.W.2d 147, 151
(Tex. App.-San Antonio 1998, no pet.). Under this standard,
"we accord a trial court's resolution of questions
of historical fact substantial deference if they are
supported by the record." Id. "[W]e review
the trial court's rulings on questions of law and its
application of the law to the facts de novo, unless the
ultimate resolution of the question turns on an evaluation of
credibility and demeanor." Id. (internal
quotation marks omitted).