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Kids, Cops, and ConfessionsInside the Interrogation Room$
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Barry C. Feld

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814727775

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814727775.001.0001

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Questioning Juveniles

Questioning Juveniles

Law and Developmental Psychology

(p.35) Chapter Two Questioning Juveniles
Kids, Cops, and Confessions

Barry C. Feld

NYU Press

This chapter analyzes the law that governs juvenile interrogation. The U.S. Supreme Court has emphasized that youthfulness heightens vulnerability and has directed the close scrutiny of juveniles' confessions. Despite concerns about youthfulness, the Court applies the legal standard for adults to evaluate juveniles' waivers of right. Most states require juveniles to understand the words and concepts the Miranda warning and to assert their rights as clearly as adults. While the law posits the same standard for children and adults, developmental psychologists question adolescents' competence to exercise rights and highlight their special vulnerabilities. Many juveniles unfortunately do not understand the Miranda warning. With impaired understanding, juveniles are at a comparative disadvantage and cannot meet adult performance standards. A disjuncture exists between legal expectations and developmental psychologists' research on adolescents' competence.

Keywords:   juvenile interrogation, U.S. Supreme Court, youthfulness, vulnerability, confession, adult, waivers of right, Miranda warning, adult performance standards

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