- Associated Press - Thursday, June 28, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut’s Supreme Court has declined to set up new rules for police who question juveniles suspected of crimes that could be transferred to adult court.

The 5-1 ruling released Thursday comes in the case of a 16-year-old from Torrington who was charged in 2012 with attempting to rob several middle school students and later convicted in adult court.

Richard Emanuel, an attorney for William Castillo, argued that his client thought his statement would only be used in juvenile proceedings.

He argued police should have told him that the case could be transferred to adult court, where his words also could be used against him.

Castillo eventually served an 18-month prison sentence.

Emanuel argued that over the years an “unknown number” of other juvenile suspects “may have been misled about the potential ‘adult’ consequences of giving a statement to the police, and others similarly could be misled in the future.”

He asked the Supreme Court to use its authority to create a rule that would require that police inform juvenile suspects of those consequences before they begin questioning.

But the high court ruled that Castillo, who spoke to police at his home with his mother present, was not in custody at the time he gave his statement and was not entitled to be read his rights.

They also declined to set up any new rule.

“The defendant does not offer any evidence that there is a pervasive and significant problem that would justify the invocation of our supervisory authority,” Justice Maria Araujo Kahn wrote for the majority. “Instead, the defendant merely offers broad assertions and speculation.”

Justice Gregory D’Auria, in dissenting from the decision, wrote that is hard enough even for adults to understand their rights and what they are giving up when they waive those rights.

Emanuel said Thursday he hopes the legislature will change the law and require police to better inform children and their parents of their rights.

He pointed to the 1996 case of Robin Ledbetter, 14-year old Hartford girl who ended up being convicted of felony murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison after her father convinced her to give an incriminating statement to police about her role in the killing of a cab driver.

The father, Emanuel said, believed his daughter could not be incarcerated beyond her 18th birthday.

“I believe that in the absence of a warning, juveniles and their parents are being misled or deceived or duped about their legal rights and the consequences of giving up those rights,” he said.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide