No criminal case, but child called to court after allegedly killing relative
Dave Cohen Reporting
The little boy who allegedly shot and killed an elderly relative in Slaughter, Louisiana was in court yesterday for an initial hearing, and the eight-year-old child heads back before the judge in two weeks.
The proceedings, however are not a criminal matter.
"Under the Louisiana criminal code children who have not yet reached the age of 10 year are completely exempt from criminal responsibility," explained Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino. "They simply can't be held accountable in the criminal justice system for any of their acts."
He says the court can intervene in other ways through "what's known as a family in need of services proceeding."
Ciolino says the juvenile court judge could call for evaluation, counseling or other services.
"The child can be given state help through the juvenile justice system, but jail is simply not an option."
The parents say the shooting was an accident, but police say the boy intentionally shot the elderly relative in the back of the head with her gun after he had been playing the violent video game "Grand Theft Auto IV."