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Posted on March 9th, 2013, by

In the current essay I would like to consider following issue: should a court consider a juvenile’s age and mental understanding in administering Miranda warning. To begin with it should be noted that Miranda warning is a democratic norm in the U.S. legal system, which is established by the Supreme Court decision in 1966 in Miranda case. Supreme Court stated that before the interrogation the accused should be warned that he has the right to remain silent and the right to testify only in the presence of lawyer. Also, accused may request to exclude any confession obtained, for example, through illegal surveillance. It can be said that Miranda warning does not apply to suspects during interrogation if they are not under arrest or if they voluntarily give police incriminating evidence rather than to give them as responses during the interrogation.
As a matter of fact, Miranda vs. Arizona is the historic case of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. As the decision on this case, the court found that any statement as a confession and acquittals can be used in court only if the prosecution can prove that the suspect before the interrogation was informed of right for lawyer and the right not to incriminate himself. In the case of refusal by a suspect of his rights must prove its voluntariness. In the sixties in American society has increased concern about the methods of police work. At the same time the movement of various bar associations to provide legal assistance to participants in a trial, acquired a wide scope. As part of the Great Society program, headed by Lyndon Baines Johnson was Legal Services Corporation.
In March 1963, Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested for robbery in Arizona. After his arrest he confessed that also he raped a young woman. Consequently, as evidence in the court were presented the testimony of the Miranda’s victim with his own confession. As a result Miranda was convicted of kidnapping and rape and received 30 years of sentence. Miranda’s lawyer appealed to the Supreme Court of Arizona. Arizona Supreme Court found no violations and confirmed the earlier decision. After that the case was forwarded to the Supreme Court of the United States and Supreme Judge Earl Warren, former prosecutor, taking into account that the interrogation is inherently coercive, considered a confession obtained during police interrogation is not relevant to the Fifth Amendment and inadmissible as evidence, except in cases where a suspect, knowing about their right to remain silent, voluntarily relinquished it. Similarly, a confession obtained during an interrogation without a lawyer present, were declared inadmissible evidence unless the suspect has voluntarily waived lawyer. The court determined the action agencies of inquiry to the case, if the suspect decides to exercise his rights.
Essential is the fact that despite pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, the court did not obligatory present the lawyer at every interrogation. The court also did not include the text of the decision a recommendation to call a lawyer at the first interrogation, since both of these interrogators threatened to do meaningless. It was obvious that any competent lawyer would advise his client to remain silent. Warren pointed out that a notice of right for a lawyer and to remain silent came into practice at the FBI, and that the military-legal code, contained provisions that required to notify the detainees of the right to remain silent.
Answering the question should a court consider a juvenile’s age and mental understanding in administering Miranda warning it can be said that, in my opinion, youth should be subjected to a special treatment. As a matter of fact, youth not always have stable psyche system due to the hormonal changes in juvenile’s age. Moreover, as a rule, youth did not know the laws and their rights. As a result, they can not defend themselves if police will decide to push them and confess the crime. Consequently, arises the questions, how our civil society can defend youth in juvenile’s age and avoid mentioned above situations.
In my opinion, there are several solutions of this problem. Firstly, government can take measures and adopt a state program, which aim is to increase the level of knowledge of law and fundamental rights among young people. However, the negative side of such solution is the additional financing both from Federal and state’s budgets for such program. Moreover, experts should estimate its effectiveness. Secondly, is to change the Miranda warning for the youth in juvenile’s age. I presume that the second solution will be prohibition for youth before 18 years on the testimony without a lawyer presence. I am convinced that this step will negate the possibility to push for suspect youth in juvenile’s age by police officers and prosecutors.
Of course, many people can call such measures unjustifiable, but in any case, I strongly believe that court should consider a juvenile’s age and mental understanding in administering Miranda warning. In my opinion, these measures will decrease the level of unjustly convicted young persons in our country and save many lives.


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