- Joseph Hall, a 10-year-old boy, was convicted of murdering his neo-Nazi father.
- He was sentenced to 10 years in a juvenile facility.
- Children activists are fighting the fact that Joseph did not understand his actions or his Miranda rights.
- Joseph apparently asked the police officers, “How many lives do people usually get?”
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear the case of Joseph Hall, a 10-year-old from Riverside, California. Jeffrey Hall, Joseph’s father, was an abusive neo-Nazi, who was recently shot and killed. Under heavy police interrogating, Joseph confessed to killing his father. Joseph was sentenced to 10 years in a juvenile facility and will be 23 when he is released.
Jeffrey Hall was a rising star in the white supremacist community. That being said, murder is murder.
Children rights activists have protested the case saying that Joseph had no concept of what he was doing at the time of the murder. How can a 10-year-old kid understand the full spectrum of the wrongfulness of his actions?
The final point in the case, however, came when Joseph waived his Miranda rights. That, of course, was something else children activists went after. They threw out the point that a boy with developmental disabilities could not have understood what that meant.
Nima Mohebbi, Joseph’s attorney, believes that the Supreme Court is refusing to acknowledge the effects that police interrogation has on children. Mohebbi said, “We are obviously disappointed that the Supreme Court denied Joseph’s petition, which presented important questions that are worthy of review. We believe the notion that any ten-year-old can understand and intelligently waive his or her Miranda rights in a coercive police interrogation is nonsensical.”
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Joseph told his step-mother, “I shot dad.”
There are reports that Joseph did not understand the Miranda rights. Apparently, a police officer, who was reciting the Miranda to Joseph, had to explain it several times. Joseph thought that “you have the right to remain silent,” meant that “you have the right to remain calm.”
There was also indications that Joseph did not fully comprehend the consequences of his actions for not only himself but for his father as well. When police arrived at the crime scene they reported that Joseph asked, “How many lives do people usually get?”
Although Joseph’s legal team tried to get the California courts to appeal his case, they concluded that Joseph knew his wrongful actions and understood the Miranda rights.
It is unfortunate when a child is abused to the point of mental incomprehension. Whether Joseph understood his actions or not, he will spend the next ten years in a juvenile correctional hall.
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