Q: My child was questioned last year about an incident for 3 hours by school officials. There was no danger to anyone. They ended up calling state police and criminal charges were filed. I was notified after everything was complete. He has ADHD and ODD and was only 12 at the time. The school was aware but had no 504 or IEP in place because they have been dragging their feet. He is now facing criminal charges for which the school has no proof, no bus camera, no witness and did not do a thorough proper investigation. Now the girl’s story has changed. They coerced him for 3 hours into a confession and made him write a confession letter. Can you please provide me with law specific to this? (Peters Township, PA)
A: I assume he has juvenile delinquency charges and a court date in juvenile court. Your best course of action is to hire a private lawyer. If you cannot do so, sign up for the Public Defender. It sounds like you may have some defenses. As you have noted, you may have an issue that his statement was illegally obtained. I would need to research the latest case law for a definitive answer but how they obtained his statement does raise a red flag. If there are facts to support an illegally obtained statement, the attorney can file a motion to suppress it, and have it excluded from court. It may also help to have your son evaluated by a Psychiatrist to document his Mental health diagnosis. Additionally, if this is your son’s first juvenile case, there may be a diversionary option for him in juvenile court, so he can get out of this with no record. A lawyer can help the situation and answer your questions as they relate to your specific facts.