Pop Up Editorial: Mothers Advocate for Youth Protections During Police Interrogations

Vero's 14-year-old son was taken from her home at five in the morning by arresting officers. For ten hours, she was not allowed to see or be present with her son while he was held in interrogation. SB 1052, a bill that would protect youth's Miranda rights in police interrogations, would require that before Vero's son was even interrogated, defense counsel would be present to explain his rights – and exactly what he would be giving up should he decide to continue with interrogation. Putting an adult into the situation whose sole interest was in the child would have alleviated Vero's concerns. A caravan of mothers who make up the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project met with legislators to advocate for this important change and share their own similar experiences.

SB1052, a bill sponsored by Senator Ricardo Lara, would require legal counsel to explain Miranda Rights to youth under 18 during police interrogations. As the law stands now, it is not mandatory to have a lawyer present during interrogations if a youth doesn't ask for it, so youth may not comprehend their rights and what they're giving up should they decide to waive those rights.  A 10 year old, for example, was asked by police during interrogation, "Do you understand your right to remain silent?" And he responded, "Yes, it means to be calm."

The bill has passed the Senate, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee, and is currently in suspension in the appropriations committee. Many organizations are backing this bill – including youth organizations, defense attorneys, teachers, and pyschologists. Opposition to it includes the District Attorneys, Sheriffs, and police chiefs who claim that youth rights are already 'generous' when it comes to interrogations. 

On the 2 hour car-ride to Sacramento, San Jose mothers whose children are facing prosecution in Santa Clara County talked about their own personal experiences. The common word: helpless. Below are the experiences of mothers whose children were interrogated for hours on end, highlighting the failure of our current procedures that allow children to make legal decisions they do not comprehend and the consequences those uninformed decisions have on their lives. 

Carol's son interrogated for 6 hours

Gail's son interrogated for 7 hours

Veo's son interrogated for 10 hours

Jenny's son interrogated 6 hours

Blanca's son interrogated 4 hours


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This article is part of the categories: Community  / Law & Justice  / Politics  / San Jose//South Bay 
This article is part of the tags: Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project  / Juvenile Justice  / Police Interrogation  / SB 1052  / Youth Miranda Rights 


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