Court Rules in Teen’s Favor in Shooting Threat Case

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( – A Michigan court has let a teenager off the hook for supposedly making threats to conduct a mass shooting in his school in Munising in Alger County, saying that incriminating statements he made in front of law enforcement officers and school officials were moot since he was not read his Miranda rights.

Police read Miranda rights to suspects they arrest, which inform them that they have the right to remain silent and have the right to request legal representation. In its 3-0 decision, the court explained that since this did not happen to the boy, his statement could not be used to incriminate him.

The unnamed minor underwent questioning in the principal’s office, where he was interviewed by both by police and school officials after he posted a video of himself holding a shotgun with accompanying text that read, “be ready tmrw (tomorrow).” The minor, who goes to Munising Middle/High School, was questioned with his father present and was not considered to be “under arrest” at the time. The court noted this in its decision, saying that the conversation in the office was more of a “custodial interrogation”. Furthermore, the court decision indicated that the boy underwent questioning in an environment and “under circumstances suggesting” that he had could not leave nor was he informed that he was free to leave at any time.

The boy told police and school officials that he was just “joking” about a school shooting, but prosecutors decided to charge him anyway.

A state court originally decided that the boy’s statement could not be used to incriminate him, a decision that was upheld by an appeals court. The court also noted that there was no legal precedent that could be used to “substantively address the situation.”

Prosecutors have the option to ask the state’s Supreme Court to review the decision of the appeals court. If they do not do so, the case will be returned to Alger County.

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