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Juvenile Interrogation in the Criminal Justice System

Annual Poster Session 2021
Illustration by Wyatt Trumbour: "Juvenile Interrogation in the Criminal Justice System"

Student Illustrator: Wyatt Trumbour

Student Author: Margaret McDermott

Juveniles should have an appropriate adult with them during police interrogation. While this issue recently has been in the public eye, it was first recognized by the Supreme Court in a 1948 ruling called Haley v. Ohio and has been heard in some other cases over the years.  With these cases, not only was the Supreme Court concerned about whether the confession was suggested or coerced, but they also wanted to ensure that the confession was not due to an adolescent fantasy, a consequence of fear or despair, or was the result of the juvenile’s ignorance of his or her rights.  The presence of a lawyer during police interrogation of juveniles would help to protect the constitutional rights of our young people while also reducing false confessions. Having more reliable results from a police interrogation will help with their investigation so that the guilty person(s) can be identified correctly and prosecuted. In addition to having a lawyer present during a juvenile’s interrogation, it is important that police use appropriate interrogation techniques for juveniles. More research should be dedicated to understanding which techniques are most appropriate for juveniles in different situations.  Despite the added expense, we must protect juveniles, who are some of our most vulnerable citizens, and prevent inappropriate interrogation techniques that will lead to false confessions. 

This is part of the 2021 Annual Poster Session, a collaboration between the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Department and the Media Arts and Technologies Department, featuring work by social science and illustration students.