State News

Court: Child wasn't in police custody at school

Posted December 11, 2009

— A divided North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled a seventh-grader's statements taken while he was in school about robberies that happened away from campus are admissible in court.

The justices released their 4-3 decision Friday, ruling in favor of a lower court ruling that found the 13-year-old Orange County boy wasn't in legal custody when taken to a school conference room in 2005 to be questioned about the home robberies.

Officers otherwise would have been required to read him his Miranda rights before questioning.

Authorities say the child confessed and later provided items he took. A judge ruled the teenager delinquent.

Justice Edward Brady said the investigation wasn't fair and in a dissenting opinion likened it to hunters carefully targeting their prey.


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  • starshield Dec 11, 2009

    So what you all are saying is for him to not be held responsible? Next time just find the loopholes and you can get away with it. For the record, he does not have to be told he can leave. The police were right on this one.

  • GoGreen Dec 11, 2009

    Will be rightfully overturned by the US Supreme Court. It is good the child confessed and I hope mom disciplined him, but he has rights and they do not cease when he goes to school. I'll remember Judge Brady as a wise jurist and will be sure to vote for him.

  • TriangleMommy Dec 11, 2009

    Odds are - even if it had been teachers doing the "interrogating" the child would have felt compelled to stay in the room, simply because they are an authority figure.
    I think speaking with the student in the school was a much better tactic, because it is a more comfortable setting and kids are more willing to speak openly (than in a police station which would be a frightening situation for a first time offender)

  • DizzyDaphnee Dec 11, 2009

    I think people are CRUEL no matter what side of the fence a person is on. When I read an article such as this, it changes my mood for a while til I can blow it off again. I read a young adolescent has committed robberies. I think well that is wrong, and he must be punished for his deeds. He is just a child so he is still malleable, IF given the right circumstances, he could develop a conscience and learn from his errors and he could put it behind him, that would be his choice of course. I mean for God's sake, TIM ALLEN, the tool man was a FELON when he was a young man and he survived and went on to change is life around and become one of the funniest comics America has ever had. I guess they didn't give up on him and throw away all hope that he could change.
    The ones commenting, your finality of this boys fate as a criminal says so many sad things about YOU.

  • wildcat Dec 11, 2009

    The boy knew it was wrong in stealing. It did not belong to him. What is his parents teaching him, if anything?

  • schoobydooyellow Dec 11, 2009


    you don't what you are tslking about. A police officer can ask questions all day long without reading him rights. He wasn't handcuffed and no you don't have to tell him he can go at any time. You need to read some case law on interview and interrogation. Oh, by the way judges know less about the law than anyone in the judicial system.

  • josep4567 Dec 11, 2009

    It is "just" until it happens to to you and your innocent. From reading this forum, it appears we're getting closer to that kind of State

  • wildcat Dec 11, 2009

    The child talked and is considered a juvi. Where was his parents in all of this?

  • Suasponte Dec 11, 2009

    A law enforcement officer being present during questioning or directly conducting the questioning does not automatically place a person in "custody" for the purposes of the 5th Amendment (Miranda). A number of you need to go back to law school.

  • dbcooper41 Dec 11, 2009

    "That's right! Let's protect the rights of the thief.
    uumm, didn't the story basically say they did not protect any rights? his statements were admissable weren't they? and besides, he gave the stuff back and said he was sorry. shouldn't that be enough. perhaps he'll become a politicain one day. he seems to act like one:)