Friday, June 17, 2011

Miranda and Kids

Marcia Coyle, In Miranda Calculus, Age Should Be a Factor, Court Says, Nat'l L.J., June 16, 2011.

Stressing that children are not "miniature adults," a divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday held that the police must consider a juvenile suspect's age in deciding whether the child is in custody and must be given Miranda warnings.

"It is beyond dispute that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave," wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the 5-4 majority. "Seeing no reason for police officers or courts to blind themselves to that commonsense reality, we hold that a child's age properly informs the Miranda custody analysis."

J. D. B. v. North Carolina, No. 09-11121 (June 16, 2011)

For more on the vulnerability of children to coercive interrogation, see this video from the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (Northwestern Law in Chicago).

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