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Prosecutor says arrest warrant for 9-year-old a mistake

January 13, 2015

POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho prosecutor said he made a mistake requesting an arrest warrant for a 9-year-old boy held in custody for one day after being accused of stealing a pack of gum.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Monday that his office instead should have sought a child protection investigation that would have led to a more informed decision.

“I regret this having taken place and will do everything in my power to avoid this type of mistake in the future,” McHugh said in a statement.

A judge authorized the warrant requested by McHugh’s office after the boy twice failed to show up in court.

Post Falls Police Chief Scott Haug said the child missed court because relatives had no way of getting him to the courthouse. The child was taken into custody on Jan. 6.

“He was not treated like an adult, and simply given a ride to the Juvenile Detention Center,” Haug told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “No officer wants to do this. It’s unfortunate that it got to this point.”

The boy was held at the juvenile detention center until being released Friday after a court hearing, the newspaper reported. McHugh said the case against the boy is pending.

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