The Los Angeles Times reports that 14 Venice High School students have been charged with a series of sexual assaults against at least two victims. The incidents allegedly go back two years. This is every parent’s nightmare, both for the alleged victims and the minors who were arrested. Much will be discussed of the victims, but I want to spend a moment to discuss what a parent should do should their child ever be arrested as part of a large arrest such as this.
Rule #1: As a parent, your child must know NEVER to make any confessions or any statements at all to the police without first speaking to a lawyer. Parents do not have an automatic right to be present during questioning, and the police may or may not allow you to be there. Also, in California, a minor’s request for a parent is NOT the same as requesting to speak to an attorney.
In other words, this is not an invocation of Miranda rights. But it’s very important that your child MAKE NO STATEMENTS TO THE POLICE WITHOUT FIRST SPEAKING TO AN ATTORNEY. It’s a lot to ask for a kid, but a minor must ask for a lawyer AND for a parent AND refuse to answer ANY further questions. This is not easy to do, but it’s important, especially in situations like the Venice High case where the police are under immense pressure to extract confessions and the worst evidence could be a minor’s own confession.
Rule #2: If it’s a high profile case such as this, do NOT speak to the media. Juvenile proceedings are confidential; don’t jeopardize your child’s anonymity.
Rule #3: If you want a private attorney (rather than a public defender or appointed panel attorney), find a lawyer who knows what he or she is doing in a Los Angeles juvenile court. Not all criminal defense attorneys understand what’s happening Juvenile court is not adult court. The procedures are different, the approach to the cases are different.
Bottom Line: If your child or a loved one is facing a criminal case in Los Angeles or any court in California, you can contact Attorney Jerod Gunsberg for a free consultation at (310) 210-0744 or via this confidential contact form.