President Zack Praises U.S. Supreme Court Decision on the Rights of Children Subject to Police Questioning
Ruling Comports with ABA Amicus Brief
It’s a matter of fact, not just law, that children are not the same as adults. It is hard to imagine anyone feeling comfortable with a 13-year-old child being questioned by police without a Miranda warning. Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of J.D.B. v. State of North Carolina recognizes a child’s unique vulnerabilities and immaturity when it comes to judgment and understanding. The American Bar Association agrees strongly with the court’s smart, fair decision that a child’s age must be considered when making a Miranda custody determination.
Editor’s Note: The ABA’s amicus brief argued that children, as compared to adults, have unique vulnerabilities, are less capable of making critical decisions in an informed and mature manner, are more impulsive and reckless, and have less capacity to understand the long-term consequences of their actions. This is the third case in recent years in which the ABA has filed an amicus brief on the unique status of children. In Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court in 2005 declared unconstitutional the death penalty for those who commit crimes as juveniles. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court applied that principle in Graham v. Florida, holding that a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional for juveniles who commit non-homicide crimes as children.