Constitutionality, Competence, and Conflicts: What is Wrong with the State of the Law When It Comes to Juveniles and Miranda?

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As the juvenile justice system evolves into a more punitive system, due process protections are essential to maintaining the integrity and fairness of the system. In light of the significant numbers of status offenders in custody in juvenile detention facilities, liberty interests are at stake in the adjudicatory process in ways they never were before. The growing number of juveniles tried in adult court increases every year. The legal paradigm in our juvenile justice system establishes parents as legal advisors in the stages prior to formal charges being initiated. How can parents be an effective means of support to their children if they have to fear being compelled to testify about what their child told them? Perhaps challenging the lack of a privilege as a due process violation will cause Congress and state legislatures to rethink the adoption of a limited privilege for this most compelling scenario, the parent who does not want to testify against her child in a juvenile delinquency prosecution.


Originally published in 2006 by the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement.

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