Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that M.H.’s statements to a government social worker may have been involuntary and violated due process even if the government social worker was not required to give Miranda warnings because youth are more susceptible to coercion, conditioned to comply with adults’ requests, cognitively disadvantaged when navigating the juvenile justice system, and misunderstand their rights even when actively informed of their rights.
United States District Court, Central District of California •
Amici argued that regulations released in August 2019 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are inconsistent with the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), violated state licensing requirements required by the FSA, and put children at risk of serious harm or even death.
Juvenile Law Center argued that the reasoning relied on by the United States Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons (prohibiting capital punishment for youth who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed) applies with equal force to young adults, such as James Hairston, and that legislative changes reflect an emerging national consensus that individuals under age 21 are less culpable for their criminal conduct than fully-developed adults.
In 2002, Lusby was sentenced to an aggregate of 130 years in prison, with parole eligibility after serving 65 years for a crime committed at age 16. Amici argued that Lusby’s sentence is a de facto life sentence and is unconstitutional as applied to juvenile offenders.
In an important win the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that “a minor’s refusal to confess to an act for which he or she might be criminally prosecuted as an adult may not be considered when deciding whether to certify a case for transfer between juvenile and adult court.”
Amici urged the Court to affirm the trial courts’ preliminary injunctions against regulations which would undermine the Affordable Care Act. Amici argued that the predictable result of the regulations would be that health care providers would be unable to accept Title X funds, causing care sites to close. These cutbacks would fall disproportionately on individuals who face significant health disparities. There would be serious consequences for adolescents, and the health of other underserved groups—including people of color, people in rural areas, and those living with disabilities—would be negatively affected.
We urged the court to grant review, arguing that Steve’s youth, learning disabilities, and intoxication at the time of the interrogation made it impossible for him to have the capacity to waive his rights.
Amici argued that educational institutions’ failure to address and remedy harassment leads to adverse outcomes for survivors and in particular for girls, students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, and students who embody multiple marginalized identities. Amici urged the Court to affirm the trial court’s conclusion that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) recognizes claims of discrimination against educational institutions that fail to address and remedy student-on-student harassment.
Amici argued that courts must consider adolescent development when evaluating the validity of a Miranda waiver and the voluntariness of a confession and that youth cannot validly waive Miranda rights absent a meaningful opportunity to consult with counsel.
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