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  • 8-Year-Old Imprisoned

    Filed at 10:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    Maybe hiding your children from the government isn’t such a bad idea:

    ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — An Espanola third-grader was handcuffed and arrested by police after hitting another student with a basketball, the child’s mother and her lawyer say.

    “The Legislature never envisioned that the law would be used to lock an 8-year-old in any jail, especially an adult jail,” attorney Sheri Raphaelson said.

    “This is the most egregious example of poor judgment by police that I’ve ever seen in my 15 years of practicing law,” she said.

    According to a juvenile citation for disorderly conduct, Jerry Trujillo was arrested Thursday and booked into the Espanola jail after he “got out of control and refused to go back to class.”

    Police Chief Richard Guillen, who was not at work Thursday, said he had few details but that officers “couldn’t deal with” the boy before taking him into custody.

    He said he had conflicting accounts of where the boy was held and for how long.

    It’s illegal to keep a juvenile at an adult facility.

    Espanola school Superintendent Vernon Jaramillo said the incident was being investigated. He expected a report from the school’s principal, Corinne Salazar.

    The boy’s mother, Angelica Esquibel, said he was sent to the school office Thursday when he raised his voice to a teacher after hitting another child with the basketball.

    Esquibel, who works next door to the school, said she was called to the office, and that Jerry began crying and saying he wanted to go home.

    She said a school counselor wanted him to return to class, and that when the boy ran outside and started crying louder, the counselor told him if he wasn’t going to be in school, she was going to call police.

    The counselor told him officers would handcuff him and put him in a cell “until he changes his attitude,” Esquibel said.

    Guillen said he’d been told the mother agreed police should be called. She said she told school officials not to call them.

    Two officers tried to tell Jerry to go back to class and told him he had a choice — class or jail, Esquibel said. When the boy got upset and loud, they handcuffed him, she said.

    The police report says Jerry was arrested, taken to jail, booked and released to his parents.

    Esquibel said that when she arrived at the police station, he was standing against a wall, crying.

    He told her he was placed “in a dark room with a window, a metal toilet and a metal sink,” and that inmates banged on the window “saying they were going to get him and cussing,” she said. He said officers told him to stop crying or they’d let the inmates get him, she said.

    If that last sentence is true, than the officers involved should be fired and prosecuted for federal civil rights violations. And the same should probably hold for the school counselor and any other school officials that were a party to this travesty.

    2 Responses to “8-Year-Old Imprisoned”

    Comment by
    August 31st, 2004
    at 7:36 pm

    Is there any chance that this is the type of thing parents do when kids shoplift? You know, take the kid to the counter, ask the lady to (wink, wink) call the police/security, then have the officer deliver a stern warning? Could it have been such a plan gone VERY VERY VERY much awry? I’m NOT advocating that this incident should in any way have happened, but the police comments at the end sound like perhaps they were trying to make some kind of point. If so, it went way overboard and was certainly counter-productive to say the least! I can’t think if it would have been better or worse if the parent had given permission.

    Comment by
    September 2nd, 2004
    at 10:43 am

    I commented about this story on my blog. I looked at it from the perspective of a law student who just finished a course in Issues in Law Enforcement and who wrote an academic paper (law review style, and quality if I say so my self) on Qualified Immunity for Maryland police officers.


    My take is that the officers are probably liable under both state and federal civil rights charges, and that the suit will easily result in significant monetary damages to the family.