Kids, Cops, and Confessions: Inside the Interrogation Room

New York Univ. 2012. 352p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780814727775. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780814770672. LAW
Investigatory questioning by law enforcement is understood to involve an unequal balance of power with an intrinsic opportunity for abuse. For this reason, Miranda warning rights and other constitutional protections exist in the United States. Nevertheless, Feld (law, Univ. of Minnesota; Juvenile Justice Administration in a Nutshell) warns in his latest book that these legal protections have failed miserably, particularly when juveniles are involved. Feld cautions that juvenile interrogations are ripe for inquisitorial abuse owing, first, to juveniles' incompetence to exercise their Miranda rights effectively; second, to police officers' skill in using psychological tools to gain a waiver; and third, to judicial inability to supervise interrogations as they happen. His research reveals that juvenile interrogation tactics and procedures have resulted in various injustices including the proliferation of false confessions. Feld also offers solutions, including the simple one of recording all custodial interrogations for possible review.
VERDICT Recommended. Judges and attorneys as well as law enforcement agencies and juvenile advocates will find this book useful as they work toward the goal of fair treatment and justice for juveniles, both guilty and innocent.
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