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Miranda rights for juveniles clarified by Court

Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Recent Cases - Comments Off on Miranda rights for juveniles clarified by Court

Today, the Supreme Court expanded the Miranda rights of children.

This fall, TeenJury reported on oral arguments in J.D.B. v North Carolina.  Briefly, a juvenile was questioned at school by four adults, including a police officer.  The interrogation was in a room with the door closed.  While he was not officially detained, the 13 year-old’s attorney argued that any child his age would not have known he was free to leave.  A person who is being detained is supposed to have their Miranda rights read to them, including the right to remain silent.  He was not informed of his Miranda rights and therefore, his ultimate confession should not be allowed into evidence.  In a 5-4 ruling today, the Supreme Court held that juveniles should enjoy expanded Miranda warnings.  Justice Sotomayor wrote that “commonsense reality” means that children simply feel bound to answer adults’ questions and would not know they can leave.  Children, therefore, deserve special attention in regard to their Miranda rights.  Justice Alito disagreed and felt that Miranda rights are “one size fits all.”

What do you think?

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