The U.S. Supreme Court has expanded Miranda rights for juveniles, issuing a 5-4 decision stemming from a case involving North Carolina officers who had questioned a 13-year-old.
In J.D.B v North Carolina, the high court ruled that police must consider a suspect's age when deciding whether to provide a Miranda warning.
"Commonsense reality" is "that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave," Justice Sotomayor wrote in her majority opinion.
In its usually cryptic way, the court didn't say at what young age warnings would have to be given, nor did it say how the officer should translate a conclusion about a suspect's age into a decision to give a warning.
The case involved a 13-year-old, Chapel Hill boy who was questioned by an officer in uniform behind a closed door at school with the principal on hand telling the boy to do the right thing.
Read the full opinion at the U.S. Supreme Court's Web site.
By Paul Clinton