Innocent Juvenile Confessions, an article by Waxman and Seth P., covers confessions, especially juvenile confessions. Some cases stated in the articles are that juveniles are interrogated, and because of the nature of their young minds, they testified falsely for quick gratifications such as being freed to go to class. There have been questions on whether the supreme court should be considerate when the confessions are made from juveniles since they are more likely to plead guilty without thinking about the consequences of what they are doing (Waxman, 2020). The article is comprehensive on the real-world scenario of cases where juveniles have been manipulated or taken advantage of to give false evidence, which later puts them in trouble with false charges.
This article is relevant to the topic of evidence in that it shows how some evidence levels are unreliable, especially when individuals being interrogated lack social and social limitations and do not have a clear understanding of their rights or the legal system (Waxman, 2020). If courts have to ensure that evidence is reliable, they should consider other factors to ensure that the suspects are not giving false testimonials under any circumstance (Lackey, 2020).
The supporting points of the article reveal the nature of the evidence that is given by suspects is vast and that considerations should be made to ensure that they are reliable. The examples given are Marty Tankleff, who falsely confesses of murdering his parents after the police lied to him of the forensic evidence related to his parents’ murder and Robert Veal, who falsely confessed to having raped and murdered a teenage girl. Mart Tankleff quickly admitted by asking the detective if there was a possibility that he was possessed, which led him to perpetrate the crime. The detective agreed, prompting Mark to confess falsely and was later arrested. In both situations, the teenagers were unaware of the consequences of their confessions and landed them in jail. Confessions may depend on age and the suspect’s knowledge of the law and his or her rights (Waxman, 2020).
The evidence discussed in this article can be classified as testimonial evidence. All the suspects are juveniles and testify under circumstances of their intellectual capabilities and the shallowness of their knowledge of their rights and legal systems. According to the article, in 1979, that the court ruled any case regarding juvenile confessions requires an inquiry into the age of the minor, their experience, background, intelligence, and education. Hopt and Utah were also declared in 1884, which gave credence to evidence being voluntary for them to be admissible. One of the cases is with a fourteen-year-old boy who falsely confessed immediately upon arrest and was put in isolation before signing the concerning his conviction. The court declared that the confession from the boy did not make the confession unconstitutional and shed facts in the nature in which youth can consider to volunteer to a confession or not. Therefore, from all the considerations of cases presented in the article, they are all classified as testimonials, and the youth are not considered in terms of intellectual capacity.
It is beyond doubt that the article presents the real-world cases where juveniles are involved in confessions, and an almost obvious scenario occurs – they falsely confess to free themselves. From the cases, moreover, juveniles are not like adults who take time to think about outcomes of their actions but rather give decisions based on what satisfies them at the moment – pleasing the officers by telling them what they want to hear, confessing falsely just to get away after several hours of interrogation, et cetera. From the article, the considerations on the evidence that juveniles give should be reconsidered and that the court should not be silent of the negative impacts of using juveniles to testify in courts.
- Waxman, Seth P. “Innocent Juvenile Confessions.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-) 110.1 (2020): 1-8.
- Lackey, J. (2020). False confessions and testimonial injustice. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-), 110(1), 43-68.