Juveniles and ‘Miranda’ Warnings
By Andrew Schepard
New York law Journal
July 29, 2011
In J.D.B. v. North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court held that police must take a suspect’s age into account in evaluating whether to give Miranda warnings before questioning begins. Those warnings—that the suspect has a right to remain silent, a right to counsel and that any statement may be used as evidence against him—are familiar to any viewer of television police shows.
The Court mandated Miranda warnings in 1966 as a prophylactic protection against coerced confessions. Police are required to give them not only when a suspect is under arrest but also when the suspect is “in custody.” This requirement prevents police from circumventing Miranda by interrogating a suspect without arresting him. The standard for determining whether someone is “in custody” is whether, given all of the circumstances surrounding the interrogation, “would a ‘reasonable person’ have felt he or she was at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave.”3 It is an objective standard—the question is not whether the suspect actually believes he or she is in custody, but whether a reasonable person in the suspect’s position would so believe.
Read the full column at law.com.