Can school employees lie about the consequences of making an incriminating statement?
UPDATED: November 14, 2011
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School employees are not required to read a juvenile or adult Miranda Rights. They are not law enforcement officers. However, school employees are not supposed to lie to a juvenile or adult about the consequences of making an incriminating statement. School employees may be disciplined by their employer for lying. Providing no information about Miranda Rights, however, or the consequences of making an incriminating statement, does not constitute a lie.
Speaking Without an Attorney Present
If a law enforcement officer is directing a school employee to speak to an individual about an offense without an attorney present, the situation can become complicated. A defense attorney may be successful in having statements by the school employee suppressed if this is the case.
School employees should not be expected to read an individual Miranda Rights or provide them with legal advice. In many situations, a school employee could provide an individual suspected of an offense with incorrect information about an incriminating statement. The school employee could claim that they did not know that the information was incorrect. This could prevent the court from seeing the school employee's statement as a lie. The best option for a juvenile or adult who is being questioned by a school employee is to remain silent except for requesting to speak to an attorney.
Protocols and Possible Criminal Offenses
Typically, a school employee is required to follow a set protocol when a juvenile or adult is suspected of a criminal offense. This protocol is set up to prevent an individual from making an incriminating statement without having been read Miranda Rights or speaking to an attorney.
A prosecutor may seek to introduce an incriminating statement that an individual made to a school employee into evidence. The defendant's criminal defense attorney or a juvenile delinquency defense attorney should detect the possible danger through a deposition of the school employee. They should then seek to suppress this evidence. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted, or that the defendant committed the offense with which he is charged.
Evidence rules generally do not allow hearsay evidence to be admitted. If the school employee made notes for the school of an individual's incriminating statement, a prosecutor may seek a “business records exception” to admit the hearsay evidence. A defense attorney should move to have this evidence declared inadmissible for one or more reasons. A deliberate lie is a good reason. In the end, providing an individual with the wrong information with regard to a criminal offense, Miranda Rights or incriminating statements, should not be seen as an accepted business practice of the school.