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Thread: OT Is this legal?

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    Regular Member Scooter's Avatar
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    OT Is this legal?

    I can't get into details. Simple question: Is it legal for a LEO to question, without parents knowing, your child about something that happened outside of and not related to the school? I am looking for law on this and can't find anything. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Thanks.

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    A LEO can question anyone about anything. I'm not aware of a law that prevents a LEO from talking to a child. The real question is, if the questioning was part of an investigation against said child, would the details in the conversation be admissible in court. Pretty clear the answer would be no.
    Last edited by scot623; 10-18-2012 at 10:30 AM.

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    Campaign Veteran smellslikemichigan's Avatar
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    for what it's worth

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_it_lega...hile_in_school

    probably... however, a child can always be taught to remain silent until their parents are called
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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Waay back in the Dark Ages, when I was still in elementary school, a very wise man told me to refuse to answer any questions from school officials or the police about any suspicious activity, whether I was involved or not. He went on to tell me to insist that he be called immediately should I be questioned and to keep my mouth shut until he got there.

    Mind you, this was back in the fifties!!

    The wise man had very little use for the police or other authority figures even back then. He had seen too many abuse that authority.
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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    The below is what Michigan lawyers think of your question. Numbering added by me. Reply dates colored by me.

    1. Your son needs to consult with an attorney. If the police interrogated your son without following the proper protocol and in a manner that may have violated his rights, it may be grounds to file a suppression motion to strike any of his alleged statements from being admitted and used against him. I'd recommend you retain an attorney on your son's behalf or that your son request a court-appointed attorney if he cannot afford to retain one. Answer Applies to: Michigan. Replied: 11/2/2011

    2. It would depend on what he was questioned about. Typically, the police will seek parental permission before questioning a minor. Answer Applies to: Michigan. Replied: 10/7/2011

    3. Your question is "can a minor be questioned?" or "could a minor be questioned?". The answer to both questions is "Yes." The police break the law all the time - so of course they "can" and they "could." The question you want to ask is whether it is proper and legal for the police to question a minor without their parent. The answer to that question depends on the circumstances including whether your son was under arrest or was detained for questioning. If your son was questioned illegally, and you challenge the legality of the questioning, what you win is suppression of any statement he made. It does not mean charges against him (or anyone else) necessarily will be dismissed. So the answer to your question, as well as the remedies that may be available, depends on more detailed information. Answer Applies to: Michigan. Replied: 10/7/2011

    4. The police can speak to a minor without the permission or knowledge of the parents. The minor would not be entitled to legal counsel unless he was being interrogated while in police custody. If your child has been questioned, speak with an attorney and review the reports of such interviews to see if any Miranda or other violations occur. Keep in mind that not you nor your minor children ever have to speak to the police. If the police come to your home and ask to speak to your child, you can always politely decline and ask them to leave. If the police spot your children in public alone or in school, he is fair game for them to ask him to speak with them. It is up to him in that situation to tell them that he doesn't want to speak with them or at least have a parent or lawyer present. Answer Applies to: Michigan. Replied: 10/7/2011

    5. Thank you for your inquiry Yes, this can occur. An older rule would have prevented answers to questions from being admitted into evidence. Now, it is a matter of the coersiveness of the situation and a number of factors. I hope that this was helpful. Answer Applies to: Michigan. Replied: 10/7/2011

    http://www.lawqa.com/qa/can-minor-be...-legal-counsel
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    The below is what Michigan lawyers think of your question. Numbering added by me. Reply dates colored by me.
    Hey! Look at the big brain on Rob! I said the same thing in Post 2 Good to see your reply came from a lawyer and not a shoe salesman, though. Lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by scot623 View Post
    Hey! Look at the big brain on Rob! I said the same thing in Post 2 Good to see your reply came from a lawyer and not a shoe salesman, though. Lol
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    I'm serious, I'm glad you found those quotes from an Attorney. Mine was just my opinion.

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    Regular Member WilDChilD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scot623 View Post
    Hey! Look at the big brain on Rob! I said the same thing in Post 2 Good to see your reply came from a lawyer and not a shoe salesman, though. Lol
    The real question is "Dude, you sell shoes? Can you hook a brother up with the new Nikes? You know the ones with the cool shocks?"

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    Regular Member WilDChilD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    I can't get into details. Simple question: Is it legal for a LEO to question, without parents knowing, your child about something that happened outside of and not related to the school? I am looking for law on this and can't find anything. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Thanks.
    I have had a talk with my kids about this. They dont need to answer any police question without a parent present.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilDChilD View Post
    I have had a talk with my kids about this. They dont need to answer any police question without a parent present.
    So true. It is important to teach our kids to respect authority 'to a degree'. Answering questions about criminal activity, trusting an elder to be alone in a room...all not cool. The answer should be "my dad would like you to call him before I talk with you, here is his phone number."

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    Regular Member Scooter's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the answers so far! I agree that we should teach the kids to not answer/ask for parent. With my other children this will work fine, the child I am talking about is autistic and, well, it is different with him as far as understanding it all. I am hoping this issue blows over. I will be using the helpful info you all have given.
    Thanks again to all.

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    Regular Member detroit_fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Thanks to all for the answers so far! I agree that we should teach the kids to not answer/ask for parent. With my other children this will work fine, the child I am talking about is autistic and, well, it is different with him as far as understanding it all. I am hoping this issue blows over. I will be using the helpful info you all have given.
    Thanks again to all.
    Best of luck in this situation, hope it turns out well.
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    Regular Member WilDChilD's Avatar
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    Nevermind
    Last edited by WilDChilD; 10-18-2012 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Off Topic in an important thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Thanks to all for the answers so far! I agree that we should teach the kids to not answer/ask for parent. With my other children this will work fine, the child I am talking about is autistic and, well, it is different with him as far as understanding it all. I am hoping this issue blows over. I will be using the helpful info you all have given.
    Thanks again to all.
    If there is an issue at hand the legal guardian should make contact and on the record, recorded in some manner even if by certified mail,
    should make the statement or claim protection under the fifth amendment on the juvenile’s behalf.
    As a parent you do hold certain rights for your children until they are of age and or mind.
    A judge or grand jury would be some of the only things that could compel the youth to talk,
    and in many cases with smaller children this is handled in private i.e. the judge’s chambers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    I can't get into details. Simple question: Is it legal for a LEO to question, without parents knowing, your child about something that happened outside of and not related to the school? I am looking for law on this and can't find anything. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Thanks.
    No issues with this in Michigan. If it comes to Miranda then it may be argued that the child didnt understand.

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    Regular Member WARCHILD's Avatar
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    Just an FYI...

    I sent the OP the info PM.
    For anyone interested or have a similar issue this is what I did.

    I had experience with this in 1978. Took a written notification to the principal that no interviews/interrogations are to be acted upon with my child, without my presence outside of normal classroom function.
    He signed a copy acknowledging the request.

    FWIW: I was told later in court by a judge in the 67th district court that this is a legal and binding request to protect any minor's 5th.

    Hope this helps.

  18. #18
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    ^^^this!^^^
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member Tucker6900's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Thanks to all for the answers so far! I agree that we should teach the kids to not answer/ask for parent. With my other children this will work fine, the child I am talking about is autistic and, well, it is different with him as far as understanding it all. I am hoping this issue blows over. I will be using the helpful info you all have given.
    Thanks again to all.
    Given the court cases and such in this day and age I could be wrong, but one would believe that any answer given by an individual with a handicap such as autism would be under some sort of duress purely because their level of understanding would not be on the same level as a child w/o autism.

    I have already done the same as Warchild. My sons preschool knows that he is not to be questioned by school officials or police without my being there, whether its a school issue or not.

    To add: By school issue I mean fights, arguments, etc. Not everyday classroom activities.
    Last edited by Tucker6900; 10-22-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WARCHILD View Post
    I had experience with this in 1978. Took a written notification to the principal that no interviews/interrogations are to be acted upon with my child, without my presence outside of normal classroom function.
    He signed a copy acknowledging the request.

    FWIW: I was told later in court by a judge in the 67th district court that this is a legal and binding request to protect any minor's 5th.

    Hope this helps.
    This interests me. I wonder if the topic of searches can be added to such a written request, like in the event of a parents' vehicle in which a student parks on school property. There has been some discussion in the past about schools and police having policies enabling them to seize keys to search any vehicle driven by a student on school property.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandersnatch View Post
    This interests me. I wonder if the topic of searches can be added to such a written request, like in the event of a parents' vehicle in which a student parks on school property. There has been some discussion in the past about schools and police having policies enabling them to seize keys to search any vehicle driven by a student on school property.
    I dealt with this once also at New Lothrop high school. (hunting season..shotgun in trunk..going hunting after school).

    If they are a student and parked in any school controlled lot...NO.
    By accepting a "parking permit" they are giving implied consent to search. Even if it is the parent's vehicle.
    Don't want any search; park on the street in a public area.

    This was ten years ago and the system was not as strict then. The boy received a warning and that was it.

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    The real answer is "It depends..."

    There are many more factors that need to be considered than what has been discussed.

    As others have mentioned, the general rule is that officers can question a child, or any other person, about anything, anytime, anywhere. Whether any statements can be used against the child or person questioned, or must be suppressed, is where the discussion thread has gone so far. The answer is that it depends whether the child was the subject of the investigation, whether it was a child welfare investigation, whether the questioning was coercive, and all the circumstances discussed in this thread factor into determining whether any answers will be admissible.

    Generally, if the child is the subject of a criminal investigation, the parent can demand to be present, and courts scrutinize the circumstances surrounding the questioning to determine admissibility of any statements the child made.

    if the child is not the subject of the investigation, the person who IS the subject of questioning does not have legal standing to seek suppression, because his rights have not been compromised - it was the child who was questioned, not the subject of the investigation.

    It really gets complicated when the police are conducting a child welfare investigation - child abuse, child sexual abuse and the like. Usually in such investigations, it is a parent who is the subject of the investigation, and most states hold that the child's welfare trumps any demand by a parent, particularly the one who may be abusing the child, who has insisted to school officials that they be contacted or be given the opportunity to be present during any such questioning. Allowing the abuser to be present to intimidate the child victim during questioning would further victimize the child, obstruct the investigation and lead to continued abuse. No state, to my knowledge, has ever held that a school official or school district must honor any parent's demand to be notified or present during any child welfare investigation, or allowed a lawsuit filed by a parent whose child was questioned against the parent's wishes in a child welfare investigation.

    Different story, though, if the child is questioned about anybody or anything, where the child is not the subject of the investigation. For example, consider the case where the police interview kids about who is dealing drugs in the neighborhood, or who might be behind a string of burglaries or vandalism. In that case, I submit that schools have an obligation to contact the child's parent-regardless whether the parent has given school authorities notice they wish to be present during any questioning of their child - and not permit any questioning unless and until the parent is present or gives permission for the questioning.

    Just so everyone knows, schools are the primary places where police and social workers make contact with children to interview them in child abuse or neglect cases. Parents can demand to be notified or present during questioning, and in most cases the demand will be honored, unless it is a child abuse or neglect case and the child is being viewed as a potential victim of abuse or neglect. In that case, logic and public policy dictate that the parent, who is the real object of the investigation, is not entitled to be present.
    Last edited by DCR; 10-31-2012 at 01:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCR View Post
    Different story, though, if the child is questioned about anybody or anything, where the child is not the subject of the investigation. For example, consider the case where the police interview kids about who is dealing drugs in the neighborhood, or who might be behind a string of burglaries or vandalism. In that case, I submit that schools have an obligation to contact the child's parent-regardless whether the parent has given school authorities notice they wish to be present during any questioning of their child - and not permit any questioning unless and until the parent is present or gives permission for the questioning.
    I really don't see how the school would have an "obligation" to notify the parents when law enforcement shows up and questions a child. At that point the decision to question the child was made by law enforcement. If anyone MIGHT have an obligation I think it would fall on the agency doing the questioning. However, there usually is no official obligation to do so, and law enforcement tends to let the courts sort these matters out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by budlight View Post
    I really don't see how the school would have an "obligation" to notify the parents when law enforcement shows up and questions a child. At that point the decision to question the child was made by law enforcement. If anyone MIGHT have an obligation I think it would fall on the agency doing the questioning. However, there usually is no official obligation to do so, and law enforcement tends to let the courts sort these matters out.
    IANAL nor do I play one on television, but, during the time a child is at school, they are under the care and supervision of that school and its agents. That said, it should be that they have an obligation to notify a parent before allowing any questioning by an outside (non-school) agency with the exception of child welfare cases.

    I will also tell you that these child welfare investigations can get ridiculous. A police agency in my state received an anonymous call from out of state claiming that my daughter had called them and told them I was abusing her. At the time of the alleged call from my daughter, she was sound asleep and there were no long-distance calls on my telephone bill. Still, I had to submit to questioning, and allow her to be questioned, by a person whose village should have been out looking for them. It's been almost thirty years since that happened and I still get angry thinking about it. If I could have proven who made that anonymous call, they would have been the subject of a criminal investigation for making a false report and a civil lawsuit for whatever I could make stick.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    IANAL nor do I play one on television, but, during the time a child is at school, they are under the care and supervision of that school and its agents. That said, it should be that they have an obligation to notify a parent before allowing any questioning by an outside (non-school) agency with the exception of child welfare cases.

    I will also tell you that these child welfare investigations can get ridiculous. A police agency in my state received an anonymous call from out of state claiming that my daughter had called them and told them I was abusing her. At the time of the alleged call from my daughter, she was sound asleep and there were no long-distance calls on my telephone bill. Still, I had to submit to questioning, and allow her to be questioned, by a person whose village should have been out looking for them. It's been almost thirty years since that happened and I still get angry thinking about it. If I could have proven who made that anonymous call, they would have been the subject of a criminal investigation for making a false report and a civil lawsuit for whatever I could make stick.
    My point is that law enforcement is in a position of authority; they are not some Joe Blow off the street. If they are the ones doing the questioning it is all on them. On the other hand, if the local cable company’s security shows up and wants to question the child to see if anyone in the household is stealing cable TV, then that is a totally different story.

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