Potential Impact of Juvenile Suspects’ Linguistic Abilities on <i>miranda</i> Understanding and Appreciation

Naomi E. S. Goldstein, Sharon Messenheimer, Christina L. Riggs Romaine and Heather Zelle

in The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199572120
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Potential Impact of Juvenile Suspects’ Linguistic Abilities on miranda Understanding and Appreciation

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In Miranda v Arizona, the US Supreme Court established procedural safeguards for custodial interrogations that also serve as a rule of admissibility if the prosecution wants to use a suspect's statements as evidence at trial. The Miranda Court also held that suspects may waive their rights, but in order for a waiver to be considered valid, it must have been made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. The voluntariness requirement, primarily, refers to the absence of police coercion in securing a Miranda waiver. This article focuses on the potential impact of juvenile suspects' linguistic abilities on Miranda understanding and appreciation. It discusses the effect of age on juveniles' Miranda comprehension, education and juvenile justice, youths' linguistic abilities, and administration and language of the Miranda warnings. The article concludes by considering the effect of developmental immaturity or mental illness on a juvenile suspect's ability to comprehend the basic meaning of the rights or the significance of waiving them.

Keywords: Miranda warnings; juvenile suspects; waiver; voluntariness; rights; comprehension; developmental immaturity; mental illness; linguistic abilities; custodial interrogations

Article.  5580 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Forensic Linguistics

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