Do Michigan Minors Understand Their Rights? Apparently Not! (Pt 1)

Most teens have heard Miranda rights being read to suspects on TV, but they don’t really understand what it means!


Kids in Michigan watch a lot of TV. And movies, and YouTube videos, and countless other sources of entertainment. But while the average teen has probably seen many people arrested, both in films and in TV shows, and in live recordings posted online, do they really understand what they’re seeing? Do they know what it means when an officer reads someone their rights? The answer, it seems, is unfortunately not.


Teens simply do not grasp the full implications…


In 2013, the American Academy for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry conducted a study on juvenile understanding of Miranda rights. Their conclusions? The rules are simply too complex for minors to fully grasp. This is not to say that teens aren’t intelligent, or that they’re not smart enough to understand advanced concepts. In many cases they are. But when it comes to Miranda rights, the far-reaching consequences are just to complicated for the average teenage brain to grasp. When you add the still-maturing, nervous teenage brain to a scary, unexpected encounter with a police officer, it’s easy to see why the kids just don’t get it.


This may not seem like a big deal to some, but when you consider how many teens are arrested here in Michigan alone on an annual basis, the implications are massive! According to the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice, 10,728 crimes committed by juveniles were reported in 2016. The number has only grown since then. With that in mind, consider how many young people have interactions with the police, without fully understanding their rights.


Misunderstanding one’s rights can lead to false confessions!


How many teens have made false confessions of guilt because they don’t understand what’s going on? Or shared details that implicate themselves in crimes that they didn’t have to discuss with law enforcement? How many teens are sitting behind bars right now, here in the Great Lakes state and around the nation, because they didn’t understand the full implications of their Miranda rights? The number is truly mind-blowing!


Back in January of 2017, we shared a series with you that discussion the issue of false confessions to crimes. One of the facts we covered was that falsely accused suspects who end up confessing have usually been treated aggressively, frightened, threatened, and lied to about how much evidence supports the claim against them. They are bullied and coerced into confessing to something they didn’t do. And if you know anything about teens, you know that they are highly suggestible, and easily influenced!

There is a higher rate of false confessions among teens than adults!


Another article we shared with you some time ago dealt specifically with the issue of false confessions among juveniles. As we pointed out then, Steven A. Drizin, a clinical professor of law at Northwestern University, says that about 13% of adult wrongful convictions stem from false confessions, while 42% of wrongful convictions among juveniles are the result of false confessions. Which means that almost half of the juveniles behind bars today, are there because they confessed to crimes they didn’t commit! This statistic is horrifying! We certainly don’t want any Michigan kids behind bars for something they did not do.


But what can be done about it? Is there a way to solve this problem, and protect the youth of Michigan and our nation as a whole in the future? It seems there may be. Join us next time, to discuss the solutions that have been suggested to address this issue, and what law enforcement departments around the nation are doing to better the odds for minors that are arrested. Until then, if your child has been accused of a crime in Michigan, we urge you to call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. (1 866-7NoJail) Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have been helping minors all over Michigan for decades. We can help your child too.


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