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Q: My cousin reported me to family members, and my mother took us to a hospital, where the police were called.  Then we were taken to a child advocacy center, where a detective brought my mother and me to a juvenile interview room.  She explained the allegations and read Miranda warnings to me in English and to my mother in Spanish, according to our preferences.

Each time one of the rights was stated, I responded, without hesitation, that I understood the right; the same was true of my mother.  She also reread the warnings herself, and we both signed the Miranda waivers.  After I consented to talk with the detective alone, my mother agreed and left the room.  I admitted to my cousin’s allegations.

The detective told me that, if I was truthful and told everything that had happened, I could receive psychiatric help or counseling.  Then she left the room.  In a handwritten statement, which I composed while alone, I admitted to a series of these contacts with my cousin.  My mother and I were reunited, and I read my confession to her.  I was then arrested.

A: The Family Court Act does not give a child under 16 years the absolute right to the presence of a parent during interrogation.  In fact, the Act expressly contemplates the possibility that the police may be unable to contact the parent of a child in custody, despite every reasonable effort, or that a notified parent may be unable or unwilling to be present at the location of custody.

From what you have told me, it seems likely that your confession will be upheld as voluntary.  The detective’s promising help does not mean she was offering an incentive to lie.  After all, there should be no attraction in making a false confession and receiving psychiatric assistance relating to a crime that you never committed.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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