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Abstract

The Miranda v. Arizona (1966) decision was a pivotal case in the United States. It afforded rights to suspects and defendants against self-incrimination and representation during police interrogations. Miranda ensured police read individuals in custody their rights before interrogations. However, what happens when individuals being read their rights do not fully comprehend the significance of what the police are telling them, whether it is because of lack of comprehension due to brain development, or susceptibility to the influence of those questioning them? The courts have examined these direct issues when it comes to “voluntary” confessions made by juveniles. Several cases (J.D.B. v. North Carolina, 2011; Yarborough v. Alvarado, 2004) have tackled elements of this issue in court, but studies show that a majority of youth do not fully comprehend what they are waiving when police read their Miranda warnings. This paper will examine the decision in Miranda and other key cases related to the interrogation of juveniles, explore the cognitive development of juveniles, and investigate how police handle interrogation of juveniles.