The Hidden Psychology of Constitutional Criminal Procedure
65 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 4, 2015
There is vast empirical evidence of the difference in men and women’s perceptions of and responses to police authority, their speech patterns and conduct. Yet these differences are rarely reflected in constitutional criminal procedure law, despite many of its rules hinging on a person’s manner of expression or subtleties of behavior. Similar evidence exists for the systematic impact of juvenile status and intellectual disability, but only modest and ad hoc consideration has been given to these factors. The result is that the “reasonable person” is actually implicitly a white male, adult and able-minded. His speech and conduct are treated as normal, and the different speech and conduct of women, juveniles, and the intellectually disabled is not incorporated into the doctrine. Consequently, those individuals have lowered rights under the law. The solution is simple yet profound: courts should account for apparent and relevant subjective characteristics in their reasonable person and totality of the circumstances analyses. Applied consistently, this solution would not only improve equity, but also would bring clarity to the doctrinal chaos that has resulted from the Supreme Court and lower courts’ erratic consideration of subjectivity throughout constitutional criminal procedure law.
Keywords: Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Gender, Juveniles, Mental Disability, Psychology, Consent, Waiver, Miranda, Interrogation, Police, Terry Stops
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation