We have reported in the past about the issue of children and Miranda rights. In particular we’re following California’s SB 1052, a bill that would restrict the way law enforcement officers can interrogate kids during a criminal investigation, and would require youth under the age of 18 to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights.
(Here for example, is the story we ran recently by Jeremy Loudenback about the issue and the proposed bill.)
Currently in California, children—–no matter how young— can waive their Miranda rights, whether they understand what that choices means or not.
We will continue to track the bill’s progress, of course, but in the meantime, we thought you’d be interested in the video above, which was released by Human Rights Watch on Wednesday. It is informative, and includes excerpts from a real interrogation of a 13-year-old who confessed to a murder he didn’t commit and was convicted of that murder. He spent three years locked up until the conviction was overturned by another court.
It is also worth looking at this 2011 NPR story about another coerced—and false—confession of a teenager, which kept the teenage girl in lock-up for three years awaiting trial before she was ultimately released. This second attorney-less interview takes place in Massachusetts, but it applies directly to the issues being discussed in California.