Real interrogation: What actually happens when cops question kids

Barry C. Feld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Although the Supreme Court repeatedly cautioned that youthfulness adversely affects juveniles' ability to exercise Miranda rights or make voluntary statements, it endorsed the adult waiver standard-knowing, intelligent, and voluntary-to gauge juveniles' Miranda waivers. By contrast, developmental psychologists question whether young people understand or possess the competence necessary to exercise Miranda rights. This article analyzes quantitative and qualitative data of interrogations of three hundred and seven (307) sixteen- and seventeen-year old youths charged with felony offenses. It reports how police secure Miranda waivers, the tactics they use to elicit information, and the evidence youths provide. The findings bear on three policy issues-procedural safeguards for youths, time limits for interrogations, and mandatory recording of interrogations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


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