A frequent question posed by concerned parents is whether a child can be questioned by law enforcement without a parent present. A story that could easily be a Law and Order plot answers that question; a judge on Monday tossed out a videotaped interrogation of a 14-year-old Colorado Springs boy accused of killing his younger brother. The judge found that police failed to properly advise the youngster of his right to have a parent in the room.
The detective performing the interrogation gave the then 13 year old what amounted to “a drive-by advisement” before the youngster signed a waiver allowing the interview to continue without his father present. Now, prosecutors will not be able to present to a jury any of the statements the youngster during the May 18, 2009 interview at police headquarters hours after the fatal shooting.
Police arrested the boy after he allegedly shot to death his 9-year-old brother and wounded their mother at the family’s home in Colorado Springs. He is accused of first-degree murder and attempted murder in juvenile court. If he is found guilty of the first-degree murder charge, the maximum sentence in juvenile court would be seven years in a youth-offender prison. But without the confession, the outcome of the trial is much less certain.