Online Edition: Volume 54 2021-22

FROM INTERROGATION TO TRUTH: THE JUVENILE CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION, FALSE CONFESSIONS, AND HOW WE THINK ABOUT KIDS IN TROUBLE BY DANIELLE PALMIERI

False confessions are a prominent contributor to wrongful convictions. Yet law enforcement interrogation tactics, such as lying, deceit, and pressure, lead to false confessions and are practiced widely on adults and juveniles alike. This Article presents the unique psychological, cognitive, and social characteristics of juveniles which make them more vulnerable to law enforcement interrogation tactics and to falsely confessing. This Article dives into current protections for juveniles both in the interrogation room and in the wider criminal justice system, at the statutory and judicial levels, to explore the mechanisms that are meant to curtail false confessions and injustice. But they are inadequate. Instead, the law enforcement function should be re-conceptualized and de-centered from the juvenile interrogation experience. 

A community-centered approach—an overall approach currently proposed for criminal justice reform—should find its way into the interrogation room with juveniles, and change the language used around juvenile interrogation. Neutral specialists who are not law enforcement officials should be central in conducting interviews with juveniles, and use noncoercive practices. The goal should be to seek the truth, not a confession. This Article also proposes that state law enforcement officials be required to retain certain data about interrogation practices, such as keeping a record of how many juvenile interviews or questioning occur every year, and how many result in a confession. More transparency in the law enforcement system, in addition to reforming juvenile interrogation practices, is critical in order to implement meaningful and long-term reform. 

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BELONGINGNESS BY EMILY GRANT

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HELPLESS BY LAW: ENDURING LESSONS FROM A CENTURY-OLD TRAGEDY BY ROBERT J.COTTROL & RAYMOND T. DIAMOND

This essay examines questions of violence and self-defense in African American history. It does so by contrasting historical patterns of racist anti-Black violence prevalent in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, as exemplified by the destruction of the Greenwood community in Tulsa Oklahoma in 1921, with the current phenomenon of Black-on-Black violence in modern inner-city communities. Although circumstances have changed greatly in the century since the destruction of Greenwood, two phenomena persist: 1. the failure of authorities to protect Black communities and their residents, and 2. efforts by authorities to use the law or law enforcement to disarm members of Black communities leaving residents helpless by law. 

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