Following are a couple bullet points applicable to juveniles who are in custody and interacting with criminal law authorities seeking to ask them crime-related questions. Reportedly, these things are true, as passed along in a recent Bloomberg article:
- About nine of every 10 minors detained by law enforcers forgo exercising their Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and promptly communicate in confidence with an attorney
- Suspected juvenile offenders are “especially susceptible” to providing self-incriminating evidence that is not true and that leads to false confessions and convictions
A Bloomberg editorial team strongly asserts that the active interplay of such factors makes authorities’ in-custody communications with minors concerning their legal rights “a recipe for injustice.”
Indeed, that would certainly seem to be the case. And the potential for a flat miscarriage of justice to occur in juvenile cases is arguably increased far further by the right granted minors in most states to waive their right to counsel without first discussing that decision with an attorney.
Children are concededly far less mature than adults in every conceivable sphere. Sometimes the consequences of their action — say, an ill-advised pass on an athletic field or the decision to watch television rather than study — are learned without painful consequences ensuing.
That could hardly be further from the truth where a Miranda waiver is concerned.
We know that intimately at the established Bay Area Law Office of John W. Noonan. We have provided knowledge and aggressive legal assistance to young people in dire need for decades, and know that they are especially vulnerable in many ways.
Legal rights should never be waived absent a suspect’s prior consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer — especially when that suspect is a frightened and overwhelmed adolescent We welcome the opportunity to provide further information to readers having questions or concerns regarding alleged juvenile misconduct and authorities’ response to it.