8-Year Old Child Abuse Dispute May Not Survive Supreme Court Test


The Supreme Court may throw out a dispute over interviewing children at school about child abuse because the case has been in court so long that the girl involved no longer will be affected by the outcome. The case involves an Oregon girl identified as S.G. who was nine when she was interviewed by a child protection worker – while an armed police officer sat silently in the room — about alleged abuse by her father, reports Youth Today. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the interrogation was unconstitutional.

At oral argument yesterday, Justice Antonin Scalia said the girl now “doesn't care what happens. She's moved, she is 17 years old.” Justices’ questions indicated some skepticism about how to provide clarity on how non-school officials should proceed in child welfare cases. In three weeks, the high court is due to hear a North Carolina case of a disabled teen who was interrogated by police at school without being advised of his rights. The court will focus on what constitutes being “in custody” on school grounds.

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