'I Want to Talk to My Mom': The Role of Parents in Police Interrogations of Juveniles

JUSTICE FOR KIDS: KEEPING KIDS OUT OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM, Nancy Dowd, ed., NYU Press, Forthcoming

Posted: 21 Oct 2011 Last revised: 27 Sep 2012

See all articles by Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Emory University School of Law; University of Florida Levin College of Law

Steve Reba

Emory University School of Law

Randee Waldman

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: October 5, 2011

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors explore the role of parents in police interrogations of juveniles. The chapter is coauthored by an academic and two clinicians and was inspired by the case of a young client of the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic. While being interrogated by police, he asked to speak to his mother, who was then summoned to the station house. Without their knowledge, their station house conversation was video recorded and was introduced in evidence at trial. The chapter examines issues raised by the practice of using kids’ communications with parents as a means to gather evidence and/or to engage in “double teaming” of police and parents to pressure the juvenile into a plea or a confession. The authors discuss the policy issues posed by this practice, in light of the constitutional dimensions of parent/child relationships and the rehabilitative and preventive role of parental involvement in advising and counseling their children. The authors conclude by identifying three potential approaches to parental involvement in juvenile interrogrations: 1) case by case analysis using a totality of the circumstances, 2) complete exclusion of parents from interrogations, and 3) enhanced protections of parental involvement. They propose a set of protections including immediate notification of parents when juveniles are about to be interrogated, Miranda warnings to both parents and children, and confidentiality of parent-child communications.

Suggested Citation

Woodhouse, Barbara Bennett and Reba, Steve and Waldman, Randee, 'I Want to Talk to My Mom': The Role of Parents in Police Interrogations of Juveniles (October 5, 2011). JUSTICE FOR KIDS: KEEPING KIDS OUT OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM, Nancy Dowd, ed., NYU Press, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932217

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4934 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

Steve Reba

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Randee Waldman

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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