New Bill Protects Juveniles

A new bill went into effect for the New Year authored by my very own Senator Ted W. Lieu.  This bill seeks  to avoid wrongful convictions from false confessions.  The juvenile brain is not fully developed and is more prone to suggestion and impulse.  Many juveniles have been wrongly convicted because they are coerced into a confession by the police.  This new bill requires the police to videotape a juvenile confession to allow an attorney to better assess whether that confession was coerced or tainted and to help incentivize more ethical police behavior in eliciting confessions.  If a bad confession is videotaped, it will be easier to argue for it to be thrown out if the video tape is available for the Judge to view and verify that what defense counsel argues is truly what happened and not just one biased side of the story.

In my practice, I have seen and heard of countless times when harsh questioning, lies, ruses and false promises are given by the police to induce a confession or admission.  The police will hold an individual for long periods of time and promise to release them if they just “tell the truth.”  This is never the case.  This is not a church confession, you are under arrest and the police are allowed to lie to get what they want.  A confession just makes the State’s case much stronger and leaves fewer options to the defense.  Remember, the police are often ruthless in obtaining these confessions and are older, smarter and have more insight than most juvenile clients.  It is only fair that the law provide safeguards to prevent the conviction of innocents.

See information on the bill here:

http://sd28.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-10-13-gov-brown-signs-bill-help-reduce-false-confessions-juveniles-charged-homicide

 

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