Brooklyn Law Review


Wilson Baer


Around the country, juveniles are brought in by police officers for the purpose of interrogations. Juveniles have the same constitutionally mandated protections as adults do and so they are read the same Miranda rights as adults are (or alternatively a version tailored specifically for juveniles). However, it is generally understood that, due to ongoing brain development, juveniles merit increased protections relative to adults. Generally, the solution to the problem has been to add an advocate for the child in the interrogation room. Usually, states have accomplished this by mandating parent presence, and some have mandated attorney presence. While these individuals do have the capacity, in theory at least, to protect the child, these measures do not actually protect the constitutional rights that Miranda warnings were designed to serve. Those rights secured by Miranda are autonomy rights or the right to make one’s own decision. Miranda warnings exist to ensure that any waiver of those rights is made knowingly and voluntarily. So, the core matter is to ensure that valid consent is given. When reevaluating the generally recognized ongoing brain development of children, something that people tend to agree upon, it becomes clear that children are not actually capable of providing knowing and voluntary consent to a Miranda waiver. If that is the true problem, then a commensurate solution must be reached. This note proposes that that commensurate solution is one that removes the need for consent in the interrogation room altogether. Further, this note proposes that statutes should be passed in jurisdictions around the country that render juvenile interrogations inadmissible as evidence.

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Juvenile Law Commons