The prosecutor argued that J.D.B. had never been in custody, only in school, and that no reasonable person would have believed he or she was in custody. [emphasis added]
Wendy McElroy, “When Police Interrogate Children,” The Freeman
Yes, because no “reasonable person” would ever associate being held captive for seven hours a day in a state-run institution with being “in custody.” Only a crazy person would think such a thing!
(Via Rad Geek.)
Over at The Freeman, Wendy McElroy provides some useful advice about what to do, and—maybe more importantly—what not to do if the police come to question your child. The column was prompted by the recent arrest of an 11-year-old boy for a picture he drew in school. The kid’s parents made the mistake of letting him talk to the police without first contacting a lawyer.
This story reminds me of an encounter I had with the police when I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old. There was a special announcement in school that day warning us about some lick-and-stick tattoos, with pictures of Mickey Mouse or some such image on them, that were allegedly laced with LSD and being peddled to children. I have no idea if this was actually happening or if it was just one of those false rumors that causes a few easily frightened dipshits to make a big stink, but on the way home from school that day, my cousin, who lived across the street, and I went up to every kid we passed and asked them if they wanted some Mickey Mouse tattoos (of course we did; isn’t that what any normal kids would do?). We had a few laughs over our deviousness, no doubt, then parted ways for the night.
Later on, a cop showed up at my house and told me that a kid in the neighborhood said that I tried to sell him drugs. I recall standing on the front porch, with (I think) my dad standing next to me, while the cop asked me if I had any drugs. I told him no, that we had just been told about these Mickey Mouse things at school that day and I had done it as a joke. I don’t recall much else. I’m pretty sure the cop realized he was dealing with nothing more nefarious than a stupid prank and left.
This was in 1979 or so, though, before “zero tolerance” became all the rage. If it had happened today, I probably would have wound up getting cuffed and stuffed and taken down to the local doughnut station and charged with pretending to sell drugs.