King County Offers Miranda Rights Tailored for Young People
When someone is detained and questioned by a law enforcement officer, the officer is legally required to let the detainee know, “You have the right to remain silent.” This warning is read as part of one’s Miranda Rights, and it details the entirety of one’s rights once they are placed under arrest. These rights include not being forced to speak to police if they don’t wish to, as well as the right to an attorney if they so choose. However, studies conducted by brain scientists have shown that younger people lack perspective and judgement to behave in their best interest.
As a result, King County prosecutors, in accordance with the sheriff’s department, have strived to make changes for the betterment of youth. This new Miranda Right’s language is meant to help youth understand the gravity of the situation at hand, so they are more inclined to make an informed decision.
The altered version of Miranda Rights is as follows:
“You have the right to remain silent, which means that you don’t have to say anything. It’s OK if you don’t want to talk to me. If you do want to talk to me, I can tell the juvenile court judge or adult court judge and Probation Officer what you tell me. You have the right to talk to a free lawyer right now. That free lawyer works for you and is available at any time – even late at night. That lawyer does not tell anyone what you tell them. That free lawyer helps you decide if it’s a good idea to answer questions. That free lawyer can be with you if you want to talk with me. If you start to answer my questions, you can change your mind and stop at any time. I won’t ask you any more questions.”
King County Sheriff John Urquhart is confident about this new implementation, as he believes it is truly the right thing to do. This has been referred to a model for reforming the juvenile justice system, and deputies will begin employing this new format once the cards have been printed. Before a young person ruins his or her own life, these updated Miranda Rights have the potential to save someone from saying or doing the wrong thing.
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