Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy
Police interrogation raises difficult legal, normative, and policy questions because of the State's need to solve crimes and obligation to protect citizens' rights. These issues become even more problematic when police question juveniles. For more than a century, justice policies have reflected two competing visions of youth: vulnerable and immature versus responsible and adult-like. A century ago, Progressive reformers emphasized youths' immaturity and created a separate juvenile court to shield children from criminal trials and punishment. 2 By the end of the twentieth century, lawmakers adopted "get tough" policies, which equated adolescents with adults and punished youths more severely. 3 Over the past three decades, these changes have transformed the juvenile court from a social welfare agency into a second-class criminal court. 4 The direct results - institutional confinement - and collateral consequences - transfer to criminal court, use of delinquency convictions to enhance sentences, or sex offender registration - preclude fewer protections for interrogating juveniles than questioning adults. 5
Barry C. Feld, Behind Closed Doors: What Really Happens When Cops Question Kids, 23 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 395 (2013), available at http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/286.