A bill, which allows those under the age of 18 to consult a lawyer before they can waive their Miranda rights and be interrogated, will be considered by the California state assembly.
California Senate Bill 1052 emphasizes the need for a consultation with a lawyer, providing legal protection to those below 18 years of age, in an attempt to lessen coerced confessions. The bill has been sponsored by the Human Rights Watch.
According to Human Rights Watch, the bill highlights that children have limited understanding of complex legal issues. Through the bill, the organization notes that children will be provided “assistance so they would have parity with adults in making important decisions” regarding waiving their rights.
LegInfo.ca.gov states that the bill will allow a child consultation with counsel before sitting for a custodial interrogation.
“Senate Bill 1052 is designed to ensure youth in difficult situations are not alone, but have a knowledgeable adult to help them understand their basic constitutional rights,” Elizabeth Calvin, senior children’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch, said. “The pressure to confess during an interrogation can be immense, and no child should waive their rights because they don’t understand the consequences of the decision.”
Sacramento Bee notes that youth of color constitute 70 percent of youth population of California. They are, the website further states, “being systematically locked up or locked out of opportunity by persistent inequalities.”
While more than 50 percent of the youth are living in poverty, a high percentage attends a high poverty school and an estimated one in six do not attend school.
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