Capacity to Waive Miranda Rights

Prior to interrogating a suspect, police officers must inform individuals of their legal rights. Mental health professionals are frequently called on to evaluate the extent to which criminal suspects have understood their legal arrest rights and made valid decisions with respect to waiving those rights. For individuals to knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive their rights, they must both understand and appreciate those rights. Research has consistently indicated that rights comprehension is significantly more impaired for younger adolescents than for older adolescents and adults. Furthermore, comprehension is most impaired among younger adolescents with lower intellectual abilities.

Miranda Warnings

Miranda v. Arizona (1966) required states to inform suspects prior to interrogation or questioning of several rights, which includes informing them of their right to remain silent, that anything they ...

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