Kootenai Co. Prosecutor on issuing arrest warrant for 9-year-old - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Kootenai Co. Prosecutor on issuing arrest warrant for 9-year-old boy: 'I regret this having taken place'

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Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh, who issued the arrest warrant, was not able to comment because the case involves someone younger than 18 years old. Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh, who issued the arrest warrant, was not able to comment because the case involves someone younger than 18 years old.
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KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - On Friday, Post Falls Police Chief Scott Haug told KHQ he was very surprised when an arrest warrant for a 9-year-old boy came across his desk. 

The warrant for the boy was issued because he failed to appear in court for stealing a pack of gum. 

When KHQ spoke first spoke to Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh, who issued the arrest warrant, he said he was not able to comment because the case involves someone who is younger than 18-years-old. On Monday however, McHugh issued the following statement about the arrest warrant:

"Recently in a Juvenile Justice case involving a misdemeanor Petit Theft charge, an arrest warrant was issued for a 9 year old juvenile. The case has been sealed by the handling judge, so I cannot communicate substantive details of the case. An arrest warrant can be issued by a judge at my office's request, when accompanied by a police officer's affidavit, when a child has missed scheduled court dates. In this situation unsuccessful efforts had been made to enroll the child and the child's parent in a diversion program, and subsequently the child and the child's parent missed court dates. 

After reviewing the file today (Monday January 12, 2015) I have concluded that my office's request to have an arrest warrant issued was a mistake under the circumstances. At least one other viable option existed, which was to seek a court-ordered child protection investigation. That investigation would have resulted in information being available for the child's counsel, the Court, and my office, in order to make a better-informed decision as to the best course for the child. Knowing the child's age, the charged offense, and other circumstances in the case, we should have attempted this other option. I have reviewed the matter with my Chief Deputy, Criminal Chief Deputy, and the handling deputy prosecutors, and have reiterated the importance of a careful review of the underlying circumstances before requesting an arrest warrant, especially in cases involving children. I regret this having taken place and will do everything in my power to avoid this type of mistake in the future." 



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