Is a parent legally responsible for a child murdering someone?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2014

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Is a parent legally responsible for a child murdering someone?

Asked on August 29, 2014 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Not criminally, unless the parent in some way facilitated or assisted the murder; if the parent were involved in the murder, he or she could be liable as an accomplice (also called aiding & abetting) or as a  conspirator. If the parent helped hide the child from the police or dispose of evidence, etc., then the parent could be liable for such crimes as interfering with an investigation, destruction of evidence, etc.

The parent could be civilly liable (that is, could be sued by the deceased's family) if the parent were negligent, or careless, such as by not warning the authorities of a credible risk or threat of violence, making weapons available to a minor, not making sure that a minor child with mental health  issues took his/her medication, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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