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JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
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I asked the following question yesterday. The answer did not

Resolved Question:

I asked the following question yesterday. The answer did not address the question; i.e., did the actions of the police officer violate my daughters civil right?

The answer was not "Accepted". It was returned as it only addressed the actions of the school board, which was only included in the write up/question to help paint the picture. However, the $18 charge was made.

Would you please address the specific action of the police officer.

Can a police officer recruit a school official (an Associate Principal) to question a student (age 14) at school about an alleged crime? The questioning was done without the knowledge of the students parents and without advising the student of their 'right to remain silent' or their right to an attorney. After each question the Ass't Principal left the room to report the answers to the police officer and then returned with follow-up questions. Following the questioning the police officer entered the room and the child was arrested, placed in handcuff, and taken to jail. The child was latter released to their parent and no charges were ever filed. Nonetheless, the child was suspended from school for one year. I believe this is a civil right violation.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

This is not likely a civil rights violation.


Police may question a juvenile at any time without parental consent or notification. If the questioning rises to the level of a custodial interrogation (a question of law) then the child must knowingly and voluntarily waive their constitutional rights (right to remain silent, attorney present, etc). Courts in Missouri have held that a minor cannot waive those rights knowingly and voluntarily without parental notification. See In re K.W.D. 500 S.W. 2d 275 (Mo. App. 973). However, the parent need not consent to the interview as long as the minor agrees to give a statement after being afforded a right to remain silent, counsel, and parental contact. State v. Barnaby, 950 S.W.2d 1 (Mo. App. 1997). The problem here is that a custodial interrogation is quite different than an interrogation or interview at school.


This is a separate issue from a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 action for deprivation of civil rights, but since the police do have a recognized right to question a juvenile no civil rights violation exists. One could argue that the interview was custodial and at the direction of the police, but that would only lead to a potential suppression of the statement in a criminal proceeding. Nothing described here would indicate a potential 1983 claim.


Please reply if I can help further.



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Edited by JD on 4/13/2010 at 8:44 PM EST
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