In the justice system, juveniles end up confessing to committing crimes for which they are not responsible. Texas based criminal defense attorney Rick Cofer decided to shed some light on why this is the case.
First, according to Rick Cofer, by Texan law, the police are not required to await the presence of a juvenile’s caretaker before proceeding with question and those that do only do so out of morality.
The next consideration is the intention of the interrogation. Rick Cofer goes on to indicate that in most cases, an interrogating officer does not attempt to ascertain the facts surrounding the crime. Instead, the officer attempts to elicit a confession from an individual which is already believed to be guilty. Unfortunately, because juveniles are more impressionable, they are more likely to fall victim to the tactics officers will use; juveniles become intimidated, stressed and frightened. To them, whatever looks appealing in the short term is desirable as they simply wish to be out of their interrogation predicament.
A glaring example is the 1989 Central Park Five case where five juveniles, (African American and Hispanic) 14-16 years old confessed to assault and rape of a Caucasian woman. Their confessions were found to be false (after serving prison time) and they alluded to confessing because they thought it would result in their getting to go home. The DA ignored the fact that DNA collected did not match the boys and instead focused on the confessions. Witnesses also described the boys with racial bias which is another factor, calling one a “Hispanic in a hoodie”.
On top of this juveniles are socialized to be compliant with authority and psychologists have determined that the part of the brain that allows for thoughts to be properly managed in these situations is not properly developed in children/young adolescents. See Related Link for additional information.
Who is Rick Cofer
Rick Cofer has been practicing law since 2008 with a focus on assault, DWI, drug, domestic violence, murder, sex and juvenile cases. He has resolved over 1000 cases, is heavily involved in support of the environment and marginalized groups, and is considered a top juvenile defense lawyer.
After almost nine years as a prosecutor, Rick Cofer opened up his own law practice; Rick Coffer Law PLLC, representing people charged with crimes in Central Texas. Rick Cofer has extensive experience in criminal matters ranging from drug possession, drunk driving, and family violence, to serious felony offenses like robbery, sexual assault, and murder.