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Presence of SRO Does Not Invalidate Interrogation

Jack Ryan

J.D. v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 2004 Va. App. LEXIS 31 (Va. Ct. App. 2004).

Following a clear trend the Court of Appeals of Virginia recently ruled that the presence of a School Resource Officer while a school official conducts an interrogation does not invalidate the interrogation.

J.D. was identified as a possible suspect in some thefts occurring at his school. J.D. was called to associate principal, Steve Wright’s office. His father, a teacher at the school was not called. J.D. was questioned by Mr. Wright while school SRO Stuart Snead stood by. Snead remained silent during the interview and did not instruct Wright during the interview.

The court, citing numerous decisions from other courts held that Wright was not acting as an agent of law enforcement merely because SRO Snead was present. As such, Wright was not required to inform J.D. of his rights under Miranda. The court upheld the admission of J.D.’s statements.

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