My question involves criminal law for the state of: Virginia
My sister called me yesterday evening to tell me that my 11 year old nephew had been arrested and charged with Aggravated Sexual battery, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge that I can't recall right now.
What happened was that in December 2011, before Christmas, there was an incident where my nephew kicked another boy "in the nuts" (testicles), that that this was recorded on cell phone video. The cell phone belonged to the boy being kicked. I don't know if this incident happened in school or someplace else - the boy lives on the same street as my nephew and my sister. Several weeks later the victims mother found the video on his cell phone. She became extremely upset by this, and called my sister and showed her the video.
A couple of days ago my nephew came home from school and told my sister the police came to his school and interviewed him about the incident. My sister was not informed of this beforehand. Then the police contacted my sister. So as of now, my 11 year old nephew is charged with a very serious sexual felony, he is under house arrest with an ankle monitor. He is barred from attending school and he may only go outdoors to go to the lawyers office. My sister has hired an attorney.
A CPS investigation has also been initiated on my sister and my mother (they live with Grandma).
I am not about to claim that my nephew is some innocent angel but the extremely punitive actions taken by the Commonwealth's Attorney seem to be insane to me. This charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of a year in prison. The police have told my sister that since my nephew is only 11, if convicted he will not have to register as a sex offender, but I am skeptical of this claim. I have advised her that nobody is to say anything to any police officer without counsel present. I also told her that the attorney will need to file discovery on the video if the police have it.
I don't think there's much of a chance of my nephew being convicted, I suspect the prosecution is looking for a plea deal here. But these are very serious charges and I imagine sister is going to spend quite a lot defending them, she is in the process of a divorce and does not have a lot of money now. Dad has already told her that he will not pay anything towards the attorney fees.
Thanks in advance for any advice.