View Full Version : Minors, Miranda Rights and that kid that killed his father and friend

cold dead hands
November 20, 2008, 12:46 AM
I hope this first stab at the forum is appropriate...

Tonight I watched video of the "confession" of the eight year boy who shot and killed his father and the fathers friend.

What disturbed me was that the boy was never "Miranda-ized" (not that he would have understood his rights anyway) or permitted the counsel of an adult.

He was interrogated in a manner that any rational adult would never allow to happen to themselves.

All in all, I find it disturbing that the authorities were able to get away with it. Surely someone at the top would have put the brakes on until mom could have gotten counsel or requested a public defender be there considering the extreme minority of the child.


November 20, 2008, 06:53 AM
i think the questioning started with the child being viewed as a witness not a suspect.

A/C Guy
November 20, 2008, 07:13 PM
The local news has been relentless in its' coverage of this case. The judge is not happy with the way the Sheriff's office and deputies handled this case. The obvious screw up of questioning a minor without even contacting a parent or guardian, plus the fact that they released the video to the press (so the public can pre judge the kid) has 'turned this into a textbook case of "How not to question a minor and how to completely screw up an investigation." '; as stated on TV by an ex-D.A.
The Sheriff's office stands little chance of winning either this criminal case or the public's approval of how they treated the child.
Whether or not he did it will be hard to determine. An 8 y.o. in that type of stress will say whatever he thinks he should say to appease the authorities.
2 adults, in uniform, wearing him down with their questions.
He changed his story 3 times, until he said that he did it. I know that my kids at that age could have been pressured into saying that under those circumstances.
The good news is that the judge has allowed him to go home with his mother for Thanksgiving (with several preconditions (no guns in the house and no video games) and court appointed observers).
Really a travesty in how the Sheriff's office handled this.

November 21, 2008, 08:54 AM
Speaking from experience and based on the tape, that kid would have had more attention given to his rights if he was an enemy combatant in an American detention facility in Iraq. :mad:

November 21, 2008, 09:31 AM
I don't see how they can possibly get a conviction on this kid even if he did do it. Am I the only one that seems to think this points to dirty cops? They sure seemed to want to get this kid to admit to it and get the video released so no one would ask any more questions on the who dunnit front. That is the only motive I could come up with for interrogating like this. There is no way they thought they were following policy or doing what was right.

November 21, 2008, 06:10 PM
It was a crappy interrogation in my mind, but:

An 8 y.o. in that type of stress will say whatever he thinks he should say to appease the authorities. 2 adults, in uniform, wearing him down with their questions.

While the basic tenet of this I believe true, most eight year olds would have a very tough time being as convincing is this kid.

November 21, 2008, 07:33 PM
I'll have to check to see whether a juvenile is entitled to be mirandized before interrogation. IIRC, in some states, they are not. And many adult criminals who are mirandized quite often tell the truth about what happened. :D

A/C Guy
November 21, 2008, 10:19 PM
The local prosecutor just made a statement today that they are not pursuing charges against the boy for the death of his father.

Al Norris
November 21, 2008, 11:44 PM
The prosecutor's office wouldn't explain its actions. The boy's defense attorney, Benjamin Brewer, declined to comment Friday, citing a gag order in the case.

Police in the small eastern Arizona town of St. Johns allege that the boy killed both men with a .22-caliber rifle in their home on Nov. 5.

A well-known Arizona defense lawyer not involved in the case said there could be many reasons why a charge would be dismissed.

“There's some reason legally or factually that they don't want to proceed with that murder at this time — and that normally means there's something they need to investigate further — the case is not ready to proceed,” Tucson attorney Mike Piccarreta said.

The boy is being held in a county juvenile facility. He had been living with his father, stepmother and the roommate.
The above from http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/11/21/20081121child-charged1121-ON.html?source=nletter-breakingnews.

With the gag order in place, I'll go with what that defense attorney said.

November 22, 2008, 06:16 PM
Fox news just reported that 10 shots in this incident, were fired from a bolt action.

November 22, 2008, 07:47 PM
First, my savage holds 10 rounds in the mag and is a bolt action.
Second, I don't know about Arizona but a minor child's name cannot even be mentioned if they are a suspect nor can their image be released to the public. As for the Miranda rights and no one present to represent him during questioning should mean that non of his confession or general info released in the statement be allowed in court.
Last but not least is the distinct possibility that some thing pushed this youngster to do something that normal thinking youngsters would never follow thru on even if the thought passed thru their young mind. I hope this is a reminder to those in law enforcement to follow rules to the letter.

November 22, 2008, 09:42 PM
IDK how they could ever get a fair jury in this case. It will almost certainly be dismissed on those grounds if the prosecution pursues it.

November 23, 2008, 01:34 AM
Can an 8 year old be held accountable for the type of crime committed in Arizona? If not, whether legally or practically, would it be improper to cut corners?