Confession of a Juvenile Sex Offender Without Parents is Admissible in NJ
- November 16, 2012
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The Union County Prosecutor’s Office contacted a juvenile’s parents regarding an alleged sexual assault committed by the 13 year old boy, A.W. The child’s father, whose first language is Spanish, voluntarily brought A.W. to the Union County Child Advocacy Center for an interview. The standard for confessions of a juvenile under 14 is that they are presumed inadmissible unless a parent or guardian was unwilling or unable to be present. This interview began in the presence of the father and discussion was in Spanish because the father speaks very little English. As the interview continued, A.W. offered his denials of any sexual conduct with the victim in Spanish but began to provide the detective conducting the investigation information in English. The detective then advised that even if the allegations were true, A.W. would likely receive therapy but not face juvenile detention or jail. The detective next began making reference to the domineering size of the boy’s father and the fact that the father’s presence may render A.W. fearful of consequences. In English, A.W. offered to speak candidly with the detective if his father was not there. The detective explained to the father, in Spanish, that A.W. wished to speak with her without his father’s presence and presented the father with a waiver of his right to be present upon which she required his signature before he left the room. Once alone with the detective, A.W. admitted to touching the victim’s vagina. The confession resulted in a charge of aggravated sexual assault as a juvenile, a conviction, 3 years of probation and Megan’s Law, N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 to 11 and 19. A.W.’s motion to suppress the videotape of the interview was upheld by the N.J. Supreme Court on the grounds that the father willingly and voluntarily left the room. If a juvenile is charged with a crime, the disposition of the charges can change his or her future by prohibiting them from entering certain schools, fields of employment and, in the case of Megan’s Law offenses, certain residences or neighborhoods. It is critical for any juvenile charged with a criminal offense to seek an experienced juvenile defense attorney immediately to begin protecting their rights and their future. For more information on juvenile offenses, sex-offenses, Megan’s Law provisions or other criminal charges in NJ, visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.