Legal Rights of Youth


Youth Stopped in Early Morning Hours
Jude is 15 years old and has had a troubled life. He can’t get along with his parents and they are always arguing. Last year, Jude was arrested for breaking into a house to steal a television set and stereo. The judge put him on probation. One of the conditions of probation was that he is not to be outside his home between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. unless he was accompanied by a youth court worker or a parent.

One morning, Jude was running for the bus with a heavy hockey bag. It was very early in the morning, just after 5 a.m. Jude was going to hockey practice. A police car pulled alongside. The night before, there was another break-and-enter and another TV set and stereo were stolen.

The police stop Jude because they want to question him about the break-and-enter. The neighbours who called the police said they saw someone who fits Jude’s description climbing through the kitchen window late last night. Jude said he was home all night because of his curfew.

Now Jude is in the police car, being taken to the police station. He is very afraid he will get into trouble, even though he didn’t commit the crime.

There are three options for Jude listed below. Choose the option you think is correct.

Option 1

Because Jude has been in trouble with the police officer before, he should cooperate with the police and do whatever they want. He should give the officers his name and address and he should let them open his bag. Jude should answer any questions without asking to have a lawyer and/or a parent/guardian/responsible adult with him.

Option 2

The police have the right to stop Jude and to search his bag. He should give his name and address to the police. The police have the right to arrest Jude as he is breaching his probation. Jude does not have to say anything else to the police. If the police take him in for questioning, he should ask (a) to call a lawyer and (b) to have his parents (or another responsible adult) with him before he answers any questions.

Option 3

Jude hasn’t done anything wrong. He should say nothing. The police had no right to stop him.

Which option is correct?
Option 2 is correct.

The police have the right to stop Jude and to search his bag because he fits the description of the person involved in the second crime, he is acting outside his probation conditions, and he is carrying a very large bag, which could conceal the missing items. These are "objective reasons" for stopping Jude.

The search of the bag may be reasonably necessary in the circumstances - especially if the officers are concerned about their own safety (there may be a weapon in the bag).

Jude should give his name and address to the police. Jude does not have to say anything else to the police. He has the right to remain silent.

Once Jude gives his name, his previous offence and the conditions of probation will show up on the police computer system. Then, the police have the right to arrest him as he is breaching his probation by not obeying his curfew.

The police have the right to search his bag once Jude has been arrested.