Juveniles have been provided with certain rights different from the adults during arrest. Officers from the police force are given the authority to detain juveniles temporarily for purposes of investigation. This is followed by the issuance of criminal charges or citations as well as safeguarding them. All the same, laws applicable to adult offenders do apply to the minors. Minors can find themselves in courts through a Court order (Roberts, 2004). This is basically if their immediate surrounding threatens them or if found to have ran away from their parents or guardian. Basic constitutional rights apply to juveniles on arrest and must be respected. Like any other prisoner, the constitutional procedures and precautions must be adhered to during their transportation. Even though juveniles have been subjected under the same basic constitutional rights with adults, there are remarkable differences. Thus, this essay seeks to compare and contrast protections afforded to juveniles as compared to adult offenders.
One of the striking differences is seen in the notification given to parents concerning the arrest of minors. The police officers are expected to provide the directions of the facility in which the juveniles where sent if requested by the parents. This is the great responsibility that the police officers should bear when a case involving juveniles is concerned; something that is unheard of with adults. Unlike in the case with adults, the arrest of a juvenile must follow this parent notification. In a case where neither the parent nor a relative can be reached, the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) is normally informed by the officer conducting the arrest soonest possible. Based on the IV Amendment Search and Seizure Clause, the security of the child in their privacy at all listed areas: papers, houses, persons among others are not compromised. No warrant can be permitted not unless there is a probable cause. All the same, this should be supported through affirmation or oath and specifically explaining the areas of search and what can be seized (Bartollas and Miller, 2011).
It is clearly stated that the concerned shall be secure in the aforementioned areas. As clearly indicated in the IV amendment, all persons are covered; be it an adult or a minor. This provision talks of people. However, this inclusion led to a heated debate. It was more in particular when referring to a minor in school. Generally, the 4th Amendment and Article I, Section 9 state vividly that the probable cause is a search and seizure requisite for adults. All the same, the standard is not attached to minors automatically. Courts in Texas have held that juveniles have similar rights as provided by the constitution to be secure from unreasonable seizures. The XIV amendment and bill of rights also covers minors just as the adults. The only difference will be in the interpretation of the unreasonable. Reasonable and unreasonable terms for adults could be different from the minors. Thus, minors need to be given this allowance in determining what is reasonable to them. The courts have the responsibility of bringing clarity on the reasonableness in matters pertinent to search and seizure for juveniles (Roberts, 2004).
In matters of custodial interrogation, a juvenile has similar rights as those of the adults relating to statements and confessions. However, a parent should be present when a minor who is less than fifteen years old is being interrogated. This is important for the minor to be advised concerning the juvenile rights. In a case where the juvenile is above fifteen years, investigators usually confer with the guardians or parents to make known the process of interrogation to them. The interrogations are usually conducted similarly to those of adults. However, time limitations are imposed based on the age of the minor and the nature of allegations. Generally, the interrogation time cannot be for two hours continuously. There should be breaks offered for the juveniles (Bartollas and Miller, 2011). The interrogating officers are not expected to be more than two at a particular time. Again, the people carrying out the investigation should confer with the guardians to deliberate on the process of interrogation, the conditions of the case and the legal status of the minor. The conference could be conducted prior to, in the process or after the interrogation. This is determined through the eye of the investigator.
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Confessions can take a different form in the court for juveniles based on the requirements of an intelligent and voluntary wavier of the rights. Because of their level of maturity and age, minors may not really understand what their rights mean. They may hence not be competent enough to waive them. Because of these facts, the Family Code is provided to the extent of protecting the minors all through the process of arrest and confession. An accurate and absolute adherence to the provisions through the enforcement of law largely reduces the chance of an illegal or involuntary confession (Bartollas and Miller, 2011). Minors need such guidance different from the adults because of their incompetence to waive their rights. Confessions and statements that any State attempts to use against a juvenile should be voluntary. Any circumstances indicating coercion or a compromise of the laid out procedure, the confession should be excluded as involuntary. These are in such instances where the minor was not able to understand the warnings and rights of juveniles (Roberts, 2004). Again, juveniles should not be forced to confess amidst an official, coercive conduct of any kind. Confession must be preceded by a free and an unconstrained environment. While coercion could be applicable to adults, a juvenile’s case is different in this sense. Therefore, such things like Miranda Warnings, the concept of reasonable suspicion and lineups and photographs may not be applicable to children in trying to get confession from them. Otherwise, the process will be flawed.
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