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The police may lie to a juvenile suspect

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2022 | Criminal Law |

Anyone who finds themselves questioned by the police may feel concerned about misconduct. A suspect might worry about the tactics Texas police could use, thanks to publicized cases about false confessions. However, a juvenile suspect might lack the world experience necessary to invoke their constitutional rights. The police in all but a few states may legally lie to suspects, including juveniles, making things potentially worse.

Lies, interrogations, and juveniles

Anyone who lies to the police commits a crime, but the police may lie to suspects. A controversial Supreme Court decision gave police such abilities, leading to troubling interrogation tactics intended to cause self-incrimination. An adult with experience with the criminal justice system might be on guard when dealing with law enforcement, but a juvenile offender could make regrettable mistakes.

Lying to suspects might involve telling them a witness implicated the suspects in a crime, even though no such witness exists. An officer may present fabricated evidence intending to scare someone into confessing.

A juvenile may sign a false confession, hoping to put an end to the stressful situation. Although the police might hint this is the right thing to do, an innocent person could face years in prison for such actions.

Invoking one’s rights

Constitutional rights remain the hallmark of juvenile law, and young persons could invoke their right to remain silent. Remaining silent could prevent the young person from admitting guilt or providing evidence that makes the defense harder.

Having an attorney available during questioning could eliminate many potential problems. Sadly, not all young persons or adults know they may refuse to answer questions unless an attorney is present. Not everyone knows that “questioning” need not be formal or occur after being officially placed under arrest. And yet, the law allows the police to “play games” with suspects, including juveniles.