The executive director at the Center for Law and Justice wants the case of the teen accused of fatally shooting a 10-year-old girl returned to Family Court and .
Alice Green also said she is troubled that 15-year old Jermayne Timmons’ alleged confession was posted on the Internet.
Green called today for sweeping changes in the juvenile justice system and said Timmons waived his Miranda Rights without a lawyer.
Timmons was charged with the murder of 10-year old Kathina Thomas, who was struck and killed by a bullet that Timmons allegedly fired as she played in front of her home on First Street on May 29. But Green said that Timmons “must be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.”
“Basically what we see here are two victims in this case. One, of course, was the child who was killed, and then we see the person who was charged with the crime is a victim of the juvenile justice system,” said Green, who held a press conference to discuss the case.
She said Timmons alleged confession and statements to police were posted on the Internet and he was allowed to waive his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination and his Sixth Amendment right to have an attorney present during his interrogation.
“While police may not have broken any laws, it is unconscionable that a 15-year old child was not represented by an attorney during this critical point in the criminal justice process,” said Green. “Everyone you talk to on the street has been reading the confession. They don’t understand there are degrees of culpability.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean the person is guilty, and it also taints the jury pool.”
The Center for Law and Justice is urging Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares to move the case to Family Court.
“We don’t believe a juvenile should be judged as an adult,” Green said.
The organization also wants to prohibit the waiving of Miranda rights by juveniles and wants jurisdiction of the juvenile court to include anyone who is 18 years or younger.
The Center for Law and Justice supports the passage of legislation requiring videotaping of all criminal interrogations and confessions, which is more compelling in the case of a child, said Green.
“It is a profile case. There is a lot of pressure in a high profile case to solve it,” Green said. “We are not saying police violated the laws, but we don’t know what happened to get this kind of confession.”
Prosecutors say they have a strong case and plan to go to trial.
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