August 04, 2011
On June 16, 2011, the Supreme Court announced its decision in J.D.B. v. North Carolina. This case concerns a thirteen-year-old, J.D.B., who was questioned by a uniformed police officer and school administrators in a closed-door conference room at J.D.B.'s school. Before the questioning began, the police officer did not Mirandize J.D.B., give him the opportunity to call his legal guardian, or tell him that he was free to leave the room. The question in this case is "whether the age of a child subjected to police questioning is relevant to the custody analysis of Miranda v. Arizona."
In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that "a child's age properly informs the Miranda custody analysis." Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan joined Justice Sotomayor's opinion. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Thomas.
To discuss the case, we have Carissa Byrne Hessick, who is a professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.