Question: Our son is 17. As a minor, was his public school in violation of his rights to allow him to sign a waiver rejecting his right to an attorney or legal guardian to be present at his questioning and signed admission statement? Our son received and then sent to another student a nude picture of a girl who had generated and distributed this picture herself. The high school is calling this pornography and involved the sheriffs office in tracking down the kids who had hit send. Is this addmission statement, aadmissible in a court of law?
The following is provided as general information only. To find out how the law applies to your specific situation, you may want to consult with an attorney
If a minor is questioned by the Sheriff’s department, the department generally advises the minor of his Juvenile Miranda rights and then may ask him to sign an acknowledgement and waiver of those rights. A parent can usually get a copy of that document at some point. Inarguably parents want to be present during any questioning of their minor child, however, the child has to specifically request a parent be present during the questioning. If they do not, then the officer is free to question them after Miranda and waiver.
Generally, a school can question a student without advising the student of his Miranda rights because they are not a law enforcement agency. If the student waives his rights, then his statements may be admissible in court.
Similarly, if a person's attorney knew that person was arrested and went to the police department to assist that person, he/she would not be granted permission unless the person specifically says that he or she wants to speak with an attorney. The rights rest with the individual and no one else can exercise or preserve them on their behalf.
September 09, 2009