Supreme Court hears arguments on juvenile's Miranda rights

March 23, 2011
79 Views

Should authorities treat children differently than adults in deciding when to read him or her their Miranda rights?

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in J.D.B. v. North Carolina, a previously “upcoming case” summarized by TeenJury.  Briefly, the justices will need to decide if a juvenile burglary suspect, who was interrogated at school, should have been informed of his Miranda rights.  Such warnings include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.  The seventh grader in question was not technically in custody, which is when Miranda rights are read to a suspect.  In this case, however, lawyers for the boy stress that an average 13-year-old would not have thought that they were free to leave.  He was in a room with four other adults, with the door closed.  Therefore, Miranda rights should have been reviewed with the child prior to his ultimate confession.  “We’re requiring children to be someone they could never be, and that’s reasonable adults,” said Barbara S. Blackman, of the North Carolina Appellate Defender’s office.  With an opposite viewpoint, State Attorney General Roy Cooper argued that Miranda warnings must be kept simple, and law enforcement officers should not have further burdens.   Justice Kennedy wondered aloud if telling a child that he has the right to remain silent would terrify him.  The court is expected to decide the case later this year.

 

What do you think?  Should this child have been read his rights?

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