Assessing children’s competence to stand trial and to waive Miranda rights: New directions for legal and medical decision-making in juvenile courts

Thomas F Geraghty, Louis J. Kraus, Peter Fink

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Introduction This chapter discusses the distinct but related issues of a child’s competence to stand trial, to understand and to waive Miranda rights, and to make a knowing and voluntary statement when interrogated by police and prosecutors. We begin this chapter with a brief overview of the history of the law relevant to the issues of a child’s competence to stand trial. We then discuss the legal and medical frameworks for assessing a child’s competence to stand trial. We go on to present and to analyze the legal and medical frameworks and methodologies for assessing a child’s competence to waive Miranda rights. We then turn to the methods by which lawyers and medical personnel evaluate a child’s competence in these areas. These assessments play a central role in determining the admissibility into evidence of children’s statements to law enforcement. Finally, we include a section on the interactions and relationships between the judges, lawyers, and medical experts who participate in the assessment process and in the process of adjudicating competence to stand trial and children’s capacity to make a knowing, intelligent waiver of Miranda warnings. It is important for all involved in the assessment and adjudicative process to understand the role of each actor in the process, and the dynamics of relationships that can affect the quality of the judge’s decision as to admissibility of a child’s statement to law enforcement. The issues discussed in this chapter are of central importance to the juvenile court’s adjudicative process.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationThe Mental Health Needs of Young Offenders
    Subtitle of host publicationForging Paths Toward Reintegration and Rehabilitation
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Pages79-121
    Number of pages43
    ISBN (Electronic)9780511543913
    ISBN (Print)9780521612906
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)

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