Children - no matter how young - can waive their Miranda rights and be interrogated by law enforcement, despite numerous studies which show that children aren’t developmentally equipped to make such decisions.
#cut50 and the California coalition have introduced legislation ensuring anyone under the age of 18 will be required to consult with a lawyer before they waive their Miranda rights and are interrogated by police.
SB 395 would ultimately protect our youth from being pressured into false confessions. It would further strengthen the application of Constitutional rights for a vulnerable demographic: children. This bill would:
- Require an attorney explain the Miranda rights and ensure that the youth understands. Counties already have public defense systems in place to provide this consultation.
- Allow youth to make their own decisions about whether to waive their rights.
This bill does not:
- Require an attorney to be present and can help the youth understand their rights by phone.
- Change the Miranda law in any way: Police can still talk to youth without reading their Miranda rights or calling an attorney when they are not being detained or arrested.