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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Barry C Feld
  • (218) 743-3118
Award Date:07/14/2008
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 93,134
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 93,134
  • FY 2008=$93,134
Start Date:08/01/2008
End Date:07/31/2010
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Police Interrogation of Juveniles: Competence and Vulnerability
Federal Award ID Number:0813807
DUNS ID:555917996
Parent DUNS ID:117178941
Program:LSS-Law And Social Sciences

Awardee Location

Street:200 OAK ST SE
Awardee Cong. District:05

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Street:200 OAK ST SE
Cong. District:05

Abstract at Time of Award

The United States Supreme Court recognizes that youthfulness affects juveniles' competence to exercise Miranda rights, but does not mandate special procedural protections for immature suspects. Most states use the adult legal standard, "knowing, intelligent, and voluntary" to gauge the validity of juveniles' waivers of rights. Developmental and social psychologists strongly question whether juveniles possess the competence and judgment necessary to exercise legal rights effectively or to resist coercive questioning. This study examines empirically how police routinely interrogate older youths charged with felonies and addresses psychologists/ concerns about juveniles/ competence and vulnerability during interrogation. Minnesota requires police to record custodial interrogations of criminal suspects and conducts trials of sixteen- and seventeen-year-old felony delinquents as public proceedings. Five urban and suburban County Attorneys generated lists of older felony youths. Staff paralegals or law student assistants searched, identified, and copied 340 case-files in which delinquents invoked or waived Miranda rights and police interrogated them. In each case, quantitative and qualitative data will be coded and analyzed: tapes and transcripts of interrogations, police reports, juvenile court petitions, probation reports, and sentences. Police interrogation techniques will be analyzed: tactics officers use initially to elicit juveniles' Miranda waivers; psychological maximization and minimization techniques police use to question youths who waive their rights; effectiveness of those techniques to elicit statements or evidence; and the impact of youths' decisions to invoke or waive their rights on subsequent case-processing, pleas, and sentences. Interrogation practices will be comparatively analyzed in different contexts-- urban versus suburban departments and juvenile officers versus detectives from other divisions--and of youths with different gender and racial characteristics. The findings will provide a scientific basis to support state law-reform efforts to regulate interrogation by requiring recording of custodial interrogations and limiting the lengths of interrogations.

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