Joseph, 10, had just told police he shot his father while he slept. The father had threatened to remove smoke detectors from the home and burn the family in it, the boy related, and had beaten him and his stepmother.
A detective told Joseph he had the right to remain silent and asked whether Joseph understood that.
"That means I have the right to stay calm," Joseph replied.
After hearing more explanation from the detective, Joseph waived his rights and was later convicted of murder. He was one of hundreds of juveniles interrogated by police in California each year who waive legal rights that some experts say the youngsters do not understand.