Consider a juvenile – a minor/child still years away from commanding an adult perspective and mature outlook – on the receiving end of interrogation techniques being employed by law enforcers in an in-custody situation?
Is it likely that such a youngster might crack under the pressure? Might it be reasonably expected that he or she might say just about anything to escape an onslaught of arduous questioning and inquiries that seemingly come across as threats?
A proven Denver criminal defense legal source duly notes that juveniles are under the age of informed consent. Because of that, “the rights they have are sometimes lost in the criminal process.”
Not only that: It is often easy for vastly experienced interrogators to exploit a young person’s fears and vulnerabilities. Under-age criminal suspects sometimes say what they believe their questioners want to hear – right or wrong, truth or not.
“When a kid is in a stuffy interrogation room being grilled by adults,” says one state lawmaker, “they’re scared and are more likely to say whatever it is they think the officer wants to hear.”
Want proof of that? Empirical research from one law school indicates that children “are two to three times more likely” than adults to confess to criminal behavior they never committed.
That leads to a high number of wrongful convictions for minors.
Legislators in one state (Illinois) recently approved a bill that, if enacted, will render juvenile confessions obtained through interrogators’ lies or deception inadmissible as evidence.
Reportedly, Illinois is the first state to pass such legislation. Lawmakers in Colorado and other states are undoubtedly watching with interest.