Can Law Enforcement in W.A. State interview a minor without parental consent or an adult present?

Asked over 3 years ago - Valleyford, WA

D.V. incident occured.. Nine yr old daughter witnessed her father physically abuse his girlfriend. L.E. has probable cause and the father is arrested. L.E. interviews the defendant, victim and minor separately. Was it legal to interview the minor w/ out consent?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Robert Daniel Kelly


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . "The federal and state constitutions afford no basis for a parent-child privilege, and neither does the weight of common law. As we perceive it, public policy also disfavors creation of such a privilege by judicial fiat." STATE v. MAXON, 110 Wn.2d 564, 756 P.2d 1297 (1988).

    [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]

  2. Stephanie Hartung

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Typically in dv cases their is state/city appointed advocate present for the victim, it should follow that a witness that young should also have a person present during questioning. It is in bad taste to not allow a parent of guardian to be prenset during such questioning. Legal implications make exist depending on the information received at the time of the interview.

  3. James D. Cormier

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . The answer is almost certainly no. The state-specific law may vary, but generally speaking a child that young cannot be interviewed without an interested adult (who need not necessarily be a parent) present.

    The father probably has a strong motion to suppress any statements the nine-year old made because of the nature of the interview. His attorney will know how to challenge it.

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