“Kids, Cops & Confessions” Author Seeks Limits on Teen Interrogations
The Crime Report, Nov. 23, 2013
“Safeguards are needed to prevent police abuse of juvenile suspects in criminal cases, argues University of Minnesota law Prof. Barry Feld. He discussed his recent book, Kids, Cops & Confessions: Inside the Interrogation Room (NYU Press 2013), on Friday at the American Society of Criminology annual convention in Atlanta. Feld analyzed 307 recordings and transcripts of police questioning teenagers in Minnesota cases. It was the first empirical study of juvenile interrogations since the Supreme Court’s Miranda ruling in 1966.
In more than 90 percent of cases examined by Feld, juveniles waived Miranda rights and frequently incriminated themselves, leading to confessions and guilty pleas. Feld advocates a maximum time for interrogations, mandatory recording of them, and a limit on tactics that police can use against juveniles, who usually are less mature than adults. Commenting on Feld’s book, Vanderbilt University law Prof. Christopher Slobogin generally agreed with Feld’s critique, noting that suspects who aren’t so talkative to police often are successful in getting charges reduced. Slobogin expressed some doubt about Feld’s idea of limiting juvenile interrogations to six hours, saying that many teens confess in the first few minutes.”
There was a presentation at the Innocence Project Meeting, which Kat attended in June, by a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on false/coerced confessions. One high profile case that he highlighted was that of the Central Park Five where 5 teenagers were accused of raping a jogger. It turned out, after these youth served many years in prison, that they were innocent.
For more on the Central Park Five: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/centralparkfive/
“The story of the CENTRAL PARK FIVE raises important questions about race and class, the failings of our criminal justice system, legal protections for vulnerable juveniles, and basic human rights.”