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[U] In re D.S.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 20, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF: D.S. APPEAL OF: D.S.

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Dispositional Order of November 20, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No.: CP-51-JV-0002710-2012

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., WECHT, J., and MUSMANNO, J.

MEMORANDUM

WECHT, J.

D.S., a minor, appeals from the October 18, 2012 dispositional order. We affirm.

The learned juvenile court summarized the pertinent factual and procedural history of this case as follows:

On October 12, 2012, D.S., a juvenile[], appeared before [the juvenile] [c]ourt charged with, inter alia, sexual assault.[] On the same day, [D.S's] cousin M.W., a juvenile[] also appeared before [this] [c]ourt charged with the same crimes. [D.S.] and [M.W.], through counsel, litigated a motion seeking suppression of statements they made to police investigators.
The charges stem from an incident in which two young boys, aged eight and ten ("complainants"), were visiting the home of [D.S. and M.W] for a sleepover. At the time of the incident [D.S.] was 15 years old and [M.W.] was 14 years old. All four boys slept in the same bedroom during the sleepover. During the night, [D.S.] and [M.W.] sexually assaulted the younger boys.
At the suppression hearing, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of Philadelphia police detective Brian Meissler. On June 26, 2012, Detective Meissler was working at the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims' Unit ("SVU"). On that afternoon, Detective Meissler was interviewing the two complainants regarding the charges at issue in this matter. Uniformed police officers took [M.W.] into custody and brought him to the SVU where he was placed in a holding cell2 while the complainants were interviewed.
2 The holding cells at the SVU are rooms with windows and no bars.
[D.S.], however, was not taken into custody by the police – he was brought to the SVU by his aunt, who is his legal guardian. [D.S.'s] guardian is his aunt and is also the mother of [M.W.].
When [D.S.'s] guardian arrived at the SVU, Detective Meissler told her that he was investigating a sexual assault. The detective asked for permission to interview [D.S.] and told [D.S.'s] guardian that she could be present during the interview. [D.S.'s] guardian gave the detective permission to speak with [D.S.]. Detective Meissler interviewed [D.S.] in a room at the SVU. [D.S.] did not ask to speak with his guardian at any time during the interview. At the time of this interview, [D.S.] was 15 years old.
At the outset of the interview, Detective Meissler read [D.S.] his Miranda[1] rights. After hearing these rights, [D.S.] agreed to be interviewed by Detective Meissler. In addition, [D.S.] was read a series of questions which asked him if he was willing to waive his Miranda rights. [D.S.] provided written answers to those questions, and then signed the waiver form in the presence of Detective Meissler. Detective ...

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