Please write Governor Brown and urge him to sign Senate Bill 1052.
SB 1052 will: Require that youth under 18 consult with defense attorney prior to waiving their Miranda rights. This will preserve youth’s constitutional rights and ensure greater integrity and oversight of our juvenile and criminal systems.
Currently in California, children and youth – no matter how young – can waive their Miranda rights.
PLEASE (1) SEND THE GOVERNOR A LETTER ASAP – firstname.lastname@example.org
and (2) e-mail us a copy, so we can make sure it gets recorded – email@example.com
Use the sample below to write the Governor a letter of support from your organization, (group, coalition, house of worship, club, etc.) Below the letter are two infographics you can use in your outreach that highlight the impacts of shared gang databases.
The Honorable Jerry Brown Governor, State of California
State Capitol, 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814
VIA E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
VIA FAX: (916) 558-3160
Re: Senate Bill 1052 – Lara, Youth Miranda Rights When Interrogated by Law Enforcement – Request for Signature
Dear Governor Brown:
YOUR ORGANIZATION is writing to urge your signature on SB 1052, a bill that would safeguard young people’s rights under the United States and California Constitutions. Law, science, and common experience all conclude that, as compared to adults, youth have less information and experience needed to understand and exert their rights, and are significantly more vulnerable to giving false statements in response to routine interrogation by law enforcement.
Senate Bill 1052 would require youth under 18 to consult with counsel prior to waiving their rights. This will preserve youth’s constitutional rights and ensure greater integrity and oversight of our juvenile and criminal systems. This bill will also provide courts with guidance for determining the validity of a youth’s Miranda waiver and bring California’s law in line with modern science.
ADD A PARAGRAPH HERE ABOUT WHY THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR ORGANIZATION.
Currently, youth in California can waive their Miranda rights on their own, as long as the waiver was made in a “voluntary, knowing, and intelligent manner.” Yet research demonstrates that young people often fail to comprehend the meaning of Miranda. Young people are also less likely to appreciate the consequences of giving up these rights, and are more susceptible to law enforcement coercion and threats during questioning. Research has also shown that through long and stressful interrogations, youth are more likely to seek to “please” their interrogators, and are swayed by promises that they will be released or granted leniency. Finally, youth are also more likely than adults to confess to crimes they did not commit. (A recent study of exonerations found that 42 percent of youth had falsely confessed as compared to just 13 percent of adults.)
In fact, courts have noted that young people are more vulnerable than adults to interrogation and have a limited understanding of the juvenile and criminal system. These problems are amplified for youth who are very young, or who have developmental disabilities, cognitive delays, or mental health challenges.
In 2013 the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry issued a policy statement, Interviewing and Interrogating Juvenile Suspects, recommending that youth should have an attorney present during all questioning by police or other law enforcement agencies. The Academy’s recommendation goes beyond what is proposed by SB 1052, which would only require a consultation with counsel prior to any waiver.
By ensuring youth understand their rights, we can ensure the outcome of interrogations are just and lawful, and create greater trust, accountability, and due process for all. For these reasons, we urge you to sign SB 1052 into law.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.