If your child was arrested in Jacksonville for a juvenile crime, he or she may have been questioned before being arrested. If your child was questioned by a Jacksonville police officer or interrogated, he or she has rights under the Florida constitution and United States Constitution. If a person is arrested in Jacksonville for a Florida crime, even if the person arrested is a Jacksonville juvenile, Miranda rights should be read. The Jacksonville juvenile should be informed of his or her Miranda rights before being questioned about the Florida criminal charge. In Florida, the Miranda Warning is a standard police warning given to a Jacksonville criminal suspect, such as a Florida juvenile, who is in custody or being detained by police. If a Jacksonville juvenile is in custody by police officers and the Florida police officers do not read his or her Miranda rights, any statements made in reference to the Jacksonville juvenile criminal charge may be thrown out or suppressed. If the Florida police officer violated the Jacksonville juvenile’s rights by not reading the juvenile’s Miranda rights and the evidence is suppressed or thrown out, any confession that the Jacksonville juvenile made cannot be used against him in court, under most circumstances. In some Jacksonville juvenile criminal cases, the confession to the Florida crime may be the most damaging evidence against the Jacksonville juvenile in his or her criminal case. If this confession is thrown out, the State may not be able to convict (adjudicated delinquent) the Juvenile of the crime.
In 2011, United State Supreme Court ruled that a juvenile criminal defendant’s constitutional rights were violated after being questioned without Miranda warnings. In J.D.B. v. North Carolina, 131 S.Ct. 2394 (2011), a uniformed police officer questioned a 13-year-old boy at school about burglaries. They did not read his Miranda rights or allow him to call his parents. At first, the juvenile denied committing a burglary, but later confessed to burglary after the officer told him that a court could order juvenile detention. Then, the officer told him that he could refuse to answer questions and was free to leave. The school’s assistant principal told the boy to “do the right thing.” The juvenile was charged with breaking and entering and larceny. At trial, the juvenile’s criminal defense attorney argued that the confession was coerced due to the child’s age and the circumstances surrounding the questioning. He was being interrogated in a custodial setting without being offered Miranda Warnings.
The Supreme Court ruled that the juvenile’s age is relevant, because students are therefore much more likely to believe that they are obligated to answer police questions. Therefore, Miranda warnings are required to inform students that they do not have to answer police questions and can get the advice of a criminal defense attorney. If you want to know if a person is in police custody which requires Miranda Warnings, there are two questions you should ask. First, what were the circumstances surrounding the interrogation? Second, with those circumstances, would a reasonable person have felt he or she was free to leave? As long as the child’s age was known to the officer, or would have been apparent to a reasonable officer, including age in the custody analysis is consistent with the Miranda test’s objective procedure. This does not mean that a child’s age will be a determinative, or even a significant factor in every case, but it is something a court cannot just ignore.
Since this is a United Supreme Court decision, it applies to all Florida criminal cases, including Jacksonville juvenile arrests and questioning by Florida police officers. Even though the Supreme Court was discussing a case about burglaries, it is applies to more than just Jacksonville burglary arrests. If Florida police have questioned your son or daughter about any Jacksonville juvenile crime, talk to a Jacksonville juvenile defense lawyer. If your child has been arrested for a charge with a juvenile crime in Jacksonville, call a Jacksonville criminal lawyer for help at 20 Miles Law.