Miranda warnings were created to protect individuals and their rights against coercive or threatening questioning methods by police officers from Miranda Warning.org(2013). Everyone has heard the “you have the right to remain silent” speech, so on and so forth. These rights do not just apply to adults but juveniles as well. In the case of the young boy who was arrested standing outside someones home there are four issues that need to be addressed. To the new officer I would address the situation as follows. So during your first arrest there were a few things that need to be addressed as to how it went about.
When you were dispatched to the home burglary you approached a young boy outside the home. You arrested him. I would not have just arrested him. Asking him if he lived at the residence, his age, name or who his neighbors are could have given you a good idea if he belonged there. As it seems also without speaking to him until you came to the police station realizing he did not speak English. According to E-how (2013), in order to arrest someone you must have probable cause. You had no evidence or probable cause to believe this boy had anything to do with a past, current or future crime to be committed. It was never indicated the boy had any weapons or tools to access the home. Without probable cause or evidence any kind of information or statements from the boy would not be allowed in a prosecution case.
The next issue was that you arrested the boy whom you still have no name or age for and took him to the station without clearing the scene. Protocol for these types of situations is that once either an alarm system is set off or even dispatched from a concerned citizen call you always make sure the home is secure. If that means calling for backup then do so. You secure the person in the squad car, wait for backup and check to see if anyone is home. Check the doors, windows or basement access to ensure nothing is, isn’t broken or open. If something is accessible you announce yourself, make entry and clear it for any other suspects. If dispatch is able to contact alarm company or homeowners you wait until they arrive from Protection1 (2013). You do not know if that boy was a lookout or the 3
burglar. If he was the lookout, the other accomplice got away. Or the other person could remain in the house continuing to burglarize and could run into the homeowner. This creates a dangerous situation for each person that we do not need for it could cost lives.
When the two of you arrived at the station you could see that the boy did not understand English because you tried to question him. You did know and understand to read the rights to him but failed to get any type of help with a translator. According to Fox News Latino (2013), a court ruled that Miranda Rights were to be read in the accused first native language. You could have requested to use an application from a cell or internet source. You also could have asked to try to locate someone who speaks his language (mandarin).Nothing was done to find a way to translate the warning to get an understanding of the situation.
The last issue with the Miranda warnings is that once the family member who came for the boy who spoke English no Miranda Rights were read to either of them. Getting the family member to translate, give information such as a name and age of the boy could be crucial also. You did not read either of them rights or asked if they understood what their rights were before speaking to the family member on behalf of the boy. So this comes back to any information given will not be able to be used in court. The case was handed over to a follow up investigator. Supreme Court (2013) ruled that “Under federal law, a suspect taken into custody must be read his or her
Miranda rights by law enforcement. Certain uses of restraint — handcuffs, a prolonged interrogation, certain surroundings — add up to custody.” How do you think the prosecution will be able to use any information given if you didn’t read them their rights?
These issues could have been resolved by following home burglary protocol. Checking, clearing the scene for safety issues, hazards or other people. Secondly when going to arrest someone you must follow the law that in regards to probable cause. There must be intent or physical evidence of a crime 4
going to be or already committed. Make sure you have this key element and when in doubt ask for advise. Thirdly it is a federal law to read a suspect his rights before any type of questioning. Failing to do so can result in dismissal of the case and all charges dropped. Even if the boy is a juvenile his rights must still be read if in custody. You arrested him and brought him to the station, hes in custody. Lastly when having an issue of translation with someone who doesn’t speak English contact a higher up to see what should be done. You could have tried using an application on a cell phone or internet source to translate his words and yours. Using the family member is a risky chance because they could tell them or you wrong to get the issue dropped. It could steer the investigation in the wrong direction. Letting it slide will not help the situation any nor a possible case against the boy. When ever in doubt reach out for help or advise from another officer, investigator or supervisor.
Arrested without Probable Cause Laws (2013). Retrieved from
http://www.ehow.com/list_6806016_arrested-probable-cause-laws.html Fox News Latino (2013). Court Rules Miranda Rights Must be given in Correct Spanish. Retrieved
given-in-correct-spanish/ or http://www.us-english.org/view/124
How Do Police Respond to a Burglary (2013). Retrieved from
Miranda Warning Facts (2013). Retrieved from
Supreme Court Rules Against NC in Juvenile Miranda Rights (2011). Retrieved from
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