Boy Lied About Age; Put in Adult Prison at Age 13

Associated Press

A 13-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who lied about his age was tried as an adult and sentenced to 38 years in prison four years ago for an armed robbery, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Luan Van Hoang said he told police his name was Michael Nguyen and that he was 17 to avoid being returned to a California home for juvenile offenders, the Dallas Morning News said.

The boy, who had lived in the United States four years and had limited knowledge of the legal system, said he believed Vietnamese friends who told him that lying about his age would result in probation. Dallas County authorities said they accepted Luan's story and tried him as an adult.

But after reviewing records that show Luan was a juvenile, Dist. Atty. John Vance on Friday took steps to return the boy to Dallas to determine whether he should remain in the maximum security prison at Wynne. His family is in Moreno Valley, Calif.

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