Age-Appropriate Miranda Language and Interrogation Issues

Juveniles are often read the same Miranda warning as adults, though they may not be familiar with the language or concepts — making their waiver of rights suspect and subject to challenge.  Some resources about the subject include:

Tamar Birkhead from the University of North Carolina recently authored a commentary, Let’s Change How Police Question Young Suspects, noting incidents around the country when children have been interrogated under concerning circumstances.

D.M. v. State, 949 N.E.2d 327 (Ind. 2011), noted that a juvenile waiver of rights form that was confusing or deficient could lead to more confession challenges, and suggested changes to a standardized form.  Following this opinion, the Indiana Judicial Center worked to author such a form.

In 2009, the ABA House of Delegates published a resolution recommending that federal, state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies should support the development of simplified Miranda warning language for juveniles.  ABA Simplified Miranda Recommendation

Barry Feld authored Juveniles’ Competence to Exercise Miranda Rights: An Empirical Study of Policy and Practice, published in the Minnesota Law Review in 2006.

Suzanne R. Houle authored Juvenile Justice is Not Just Kid Stuff:  The Forgotten Side of Fairness and Due Process, published in the Dartmouth Law Journal in 2011.

To test comprehension, a version of the Miranda Rights Comprehension Instruments (MRCI) may be administered.  Information about the tool is here.

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3 Responses to Age-Appropriate Miranda Language and Interrogation Issues

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  3. Pingback: A Miranda Warning That Requires More? | Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog

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