from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Kootenai County, Hon. Benjamin R. Simpson,
order of the district court is reversed.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Boise, for Appellant.
Kale D. Gans argued.
Don Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for
Respondent. Andrea W. Reynolds argued.
State of Idaho appeals from the decision of the district
court granting Brianna Nicole Andersen's motion to
suppress statements that she made to a police officer. The
district court granted Andersen's motion based on its
finding that Andersen's statements were made without
Miranda warnings during a custodial interrogation
and that Andersen's statements were not voluntary. We
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
approximately midnight on October 1, 2016, Coeur d'Alene
police officers responded to an apartment after receiving a
911 call from Andersen reporting that that "there was a
male who was unconscious, not breathing and unresponsive in
the bathroom area of the residence." Officer Nielsen was
the first police officer to enter the residence. There were
four people inside, including Andersen. Officer Nielsen found
a young man, later determined to be Ryan Stebbins, lying
unconscious on the bathroom floor. He determined that
Stebbins was breathing and had a pulse and observed a used
syringe lying on the bathroom counter. Officer Nielsen
testified at Andersen's preliminary hearing that he
believed Mr. Stebbins might have been under the influence of
heroin and that the syringe was for "a narcotic
analgesic of some kind."
more officers responded to the scene-Officers Niska, Schatz,
Rodgers, Cohen and Sergeant Schneider. Paramedics arrived at
the residence approximately five minutes after the police
officers' arrival. While Officer Nielsen was in the
bathroom with Stebbins, other officers began interviewing the
other persons in the apartment.
Schneider assigned Officer Niska to question Andersen.
Officer Niska asked Andersen, "Why don't you come
talk to me?" Andersen and Officer Niska went into an
open area adjacent to the bathroom. Andersen sat down in an
armchair. She was neither handcuffed nor told that she was
under arrest. No weapons were drawn and Andersen was not
threatened. Andersen was not advised of her
Miranda rights at any point during the interview.
Niska asked Andersen for her identification, which she did
not have on her person. Officer Niska then requested
Andersen's name and identifying information, which
Officer Niska relayed to dispatch. Officer Niska then
questioned Andersen at length about what transpired. Andersen
initially reported that the occupants of the residence had
been downstairs in the basement eating pizza when Stebbins
went upstairs. Then "they heard a loud thump, and . . .
they found him unconscious."
Schneider joined in the questioning after approximately ten
minutes. In comparison to Officer Niska, his questions and
tone were aggressive. The first question he asked Andersen
was, "So, you use too, or just him?" Andersen
responded that she had been clean for two and a half years.
Sergeant Schneider interrupted, asking, "Where did you
put the dope?" Andersen responded that she didn't
have anything. Sergeant Schneider indicated disbelief at her
answer, telling Andersen, "Stop it . . . no you are, you
are." He continued to question her, stating at one
point, "You're worried about getting in trouble
because you've got dope." Andersen denied using
drugs and that she had been in the bathroom with Stebbins.
Sergeant Schneider responded, "More lies. You were in
the bathroom with him." Andersen continued to defend
herself, telling the officers they could "search [her]
asked Stebbins, who by this time was in the living room, if
he was okay. She made a movement as if to rise, and both
officers forcefully instructed her to "stay
seated." Sergeant Schneider then accused Andersen of
hiding the drugs and not telling the truth, sarcastically
suggesting that "some magic heroin fairy" had
hidden the heroin. Andersen made another movement and was
again told to "stay seated."
Sergeant Schneider disengaged from the questioning, Officer
Niska questioned Andersen for a considerable time. At one
point, Officer Niska told Andersen to, "Quit lying . . .
enough with the B.S. So, what really happened?" Andersen
then told Officer Niska that she had been in the bathroom
with Stebbins and, after he passed out, she had flushed a