I am currently in a situation that I am not sure how to handle. I have a friend whose 16 year old daughter has made an accusation of inappropriate touching against a friend of mine...she alledges that this happened last summer at my home. she was 15 at the time. I do not believe her...she is a very troubled child who has been in quite a bit of trouble over the past year. she made a statement to a counselor at a womens shelter where she was performing community service and the counselor there called the police who came out and talked to her without a parent present. Before the investigator even called her parent, they called me to question me about how to get into contact with my friend. I gave them what information that I had. They asked me if I talked to him to ask him to contact them. In the mean time, my friend and her daughter went and talked to the investigator and told him that they did not wish to pursue charges, that they did not want this to go to court, that they wanted the investigation stopped. I thought everything was finished. Then I received two more phone calls from the investigator. I did not answer. She called the investigator back and he told her that he had received calls that the person who was accused had been spotted with me and that I have lied to them and he is staying with me. I have seen him, but he is not staying with me. The investigator has just called me again today. I did not answer. I do not want to talk to them. I do not want to be involved. No charges have been filed against him. My question is do I have to talk to them? If I do call back, can I just say that I have nothing to say about the matter? Can they force me to talk to them? Can I get into any trouble if I don't return their calls? Thank you for your help.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If there are no charges against your friend you are not aiding anyone. The police feel that if you do not fully cooperate with them you "obstruct justice". You do not seem to be doing that. You do not have to speak to the police. But the officer can do what police do, intimidate and threaten. You may want to call and say that you have provided all information. I would advice your friend not to give a statement, at least not without counsel present.
1 lawyer agrees
"Similarly, officers may seek consent-based encounters if they are lawfully present in the place where the consensual encounter occurs...... If consent is freely given, it makes no difference that an officer may have approached the person with the hope or expectation of obtaining consent. ...." Kentucky v. King, 563 U.S. ___ 091272 (2011)(internal citation omitted).
Most importantly to your question, the Supreme Court of the United States further said as follows:
When law enforcement officers who are not armed with a warrant knock on a door, they do no more than any private citizen might do. And whether the person who knocks on the door and requests the opportunity to speak is a police officer or a private citizen, the occupant has no obligation to open the door or to speak. (“[H]e may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way”). When the police knock on a door but the occupants choose not to respond or to speak, “the investigation will have reached a conspicuously low point,” and the occupants “will have the kind of warning that even the most elaborate security system cannot provide.” And even if an occupant chooses to open the door and speak with the officers, the occupant need not allow the officers to enter the premises and may refuse to answer any questions at any time."
Kentucky v. King, 563 U.S. ___ 091272, 16 (2011)(internal citations omitted).
Homes have an extraordinarily high privacy requirement and protection under the United States Constitution. However, looking at Kentucky v. King, absent a warrant, arrest, probable case, administrative regulations, and/or some grant of authority from the Commonwealth of Virginia, then I don't find much between a police officer investigating and a citizen investigating based on my reading of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kentucky v. King.
Really though, you should seek counsel and get some advice. You may have missed facts that are relevant. You may need the advice yourself. Lastly, the United States Constitution and its protections can be both rock solid and at the same time sand. So please seek counsel.
I provide this information in general terms for information purposes only and as a courtesy. Neither I nor my firm are your lawyers until you sign a legal retainer agreement and pay us an advanced legal fee.