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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

The right against self-incrimination has been a part of American law since before the enactment of the Fifth Amendment. In the twentieth century, extreme police interrogation methods led the U.S. Supreme Court to institute further protections of this constitutional principle. Most significantly, in 1966, in Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court permanently altered American criminal procedure and culture by extending the now-famous Miranda rights to individuals before custodial interrogation. Over fifty years later, these procedural safeguards to the right against self-incrimination have met virtually universal criticism for their ineffectiveness. Matters are particularly dire for juveniles because the law has failed to establish meaningful protections to ensure that they can understand and use their right against self-incrimination. Further, there is a growing amount of evidence that developmental limitations make juveniles especially susceptible to making uninformed, involuntary choices during interrogation. The recent innocence revolution provides proof that this leads to false confessions that unduly prejudice children in the criminal justice system and result in wrongful convictions. This Note argues that major change is necessary to protect juveniles from self-incrimination, and that confession evidence from juvenile interrogation should be inadmissible in court for due process and evidentiary reasons.

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