Miranda Warning for Juveniles

In the historic case that defined defendant’s rights, Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution’s guarantee against self-incrimination required that police advise criminal suspects that they have a right to remain silent and a right to have a lawyer present when they are taken into custody for questioning.

The court has recently ruled that police now need to factor in a suspect’s age when deciding whether they must give them Miranda warnings.

Under earlier rulings, the court said that whether a suspect was “in custody” for Miranda purposes depended on the circumstances of the interrogation and whether a “reasonable person” would feel free to leave.

In its new decision, the court concludes that age matters because a teenager is likely to think he is not free to leave an interrogation even if a reasonable adult would think otherwise. Thus they have created the “reasonable child” standard.

Categories: Criminal Law, Articles