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Criminal defense for child may hinge on understanding of rights

Parents may find themselves struggling over the finer points of raising children. After all, disciplining appropriately is a delicate balance, and going too far may have psychological repercussions. However, it is not often one hears of an 8-year-old whose parents are focused on seeking a criminal defense strategy for their child. Nevertheless, following a tragic incident in his backyard, one Nebraska child finds himself at the center of a strange legal battle.

Omaha police admitted they could have handled the situation better after they arrested the child in his third grade class. The boy was escorted to the police station and booked on charges of second degree felony assault, although those charges have not been formally filed. The arrest stemmed from an incident near the child's house when he allegedly picked up a rock to throw. Witnesses say the boy yelled for his sister and a neighboring boy to duck before throwing the rock. The 8-year-old neighbor apparently did not duck, and the rock struck him in the head.

The young neighbor suffered a brain bleed that required surgery and seizure medication. His parents seem dubious that a rock caused the damage and claim the doctor believes it may have been a hammer or baseball bat. Nevertheless, the parents of the boy who allegedly threw the rock say his arrest was ridiculous and that he could not possibly understand the Miranda rights Nebraska police read to him.

Criminal charges for a child so young may have lasting effects, and Nebraska's juvenile justice system may be the place where the issues raised by this tragedy are considered. Fortunately, the family has the right to retain criminal defense counsel to protect the child's legal rights. Having the advice and guidance of an attorney may benefit the family in many important ways.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Omaha Boy, 9, Arrested for Allegedly Throwing Rock at Child", May 12, 2017

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