Juveniles' susceptibility to suggestion, coupled with their inherent naiveties and immature thought processes, raise considerable doubt as to their ability to understand and exercise their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Furthermore, they are extremely vulnerable to overimplicating themselves in crimes or, even more unfortunate for all involved, confessing to crimes they did not even commit. To protect the rights and interests of juveniles, states must enact several safeguards. This Note suggests, for example, that courts which currently use a totality of the circumstances test to determine whether a juvenile confession is voluntary, and thus not a violation of the Fifth Amendment, should abandon it in favor of a less-flexible per se rule. Additionally, states need to simplify the Miranda warning into language more conducive to juveniles' comprehension. To increase the reliability of confessions and prevent false confessions altogether, interrogators need to cease using the same interrogation tactics, such as leading questions and the presentation of false evidence, on juveniles as they do on adults.
Lisa M. Krzewinski,
But I Didn't Do It: Protecting the Rights of Juveniles During Interrogation,
B.C. Third World L.J.