Last October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 395: police cannot interrogate children 15 and under until a child has consulted with an attorney. Before, children of any age were allowed to waive their right to an attorney, even when parents had no idea their child was in custody. The legislation came about due to law enforcement officers exploiting young people’s ignorance regarding their rights.
As you might expect, SB 395 is hailed as a victory by defense attorneys, while law enforcement views it as something altogether different. As of January 1, 2018, police officers can no longer interrogate minors until suspects have consulted with an attorney, which law enforcement says will only make investigations more difficult, Bakersfield.com reports. The law “definitely complicates things,” says Bakersfield Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Ryan Kroeker.
Understanding the Law
Defense attorney Kyle J. Humphrey points out that teenagers cannot grasp what can result from waiving their right to speak with an attorney before interrogation, according to the article. The bill highlights research indicating that young people tend to “either ignore or discount future outcomes and implications and disregard long-term consequences of important decisions.” Humphrey says SB 395 is seriously past due.
“It may make it a little harder for law enforcement to do their job, but when you’re talking about someone’s freedom, or giving someone a ‘scarlet letter,’ it should be difficult to get a conviction,” Humphrey said.
In Kern County, for instance, the Public Defender’s office started a program to comply with SB 395, the article reports. A defense attorney is available 24 hours a day to consult with minors, either in person or via teleconference.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If your son or daughter is charged with a criminal offense, please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. Juvenile cases can have a severe impact on the course of a person’s life; Attorney Brower can help you achieve the best possible outcome.