State v. Hauschultz
After successfully completing a juvenile sentence, Damian Hauschultz was tried as an adult and sentenced to 20 years in prison for incident that occurred when he was a 14-year-old eighth grader. As punishment for minor behaviors, Damian’s stepfather ordered Damian and his foster brothers to carry heavy logs around their yard for hours at a time. Damian was told to make sure his 7-year-old foster brother completed his punishment. When his foster brother collapsed, Damian and his siblings put wet snow on his body, thinking it would make him get up and finish the punishment. Instead, he became unresponsive and ultimately died of hypothermia. That night, Damian was interrogated three times, alone and without Miranda warnings, during which he made inculpatory statements.
Juvenile Law Center, joined by fourteen advocacy organizations and experts, filed an amicus brief in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in support of Damian, arguing that Damian’s age and trauma history made his interrogations unconstitutional. Our brief emphasized the ways that adolescent brain development impacts youths’ abilities to appreciate and enforce their rights during interrogations, and how trauma compounds adolescent vulnerabilities during interrogations.
Jessica Feierman, Marsha Levick, Vic Wiener
Tiffany Faith, Marissa Lariviere