Adolescents in Policing Systems
Police often must deal with juveniles and face challenges when dealing with them: juveniles commit a significant percentage of offenses; juveniles have more negative attitudes toward police; and juveniles have peculiar vulnerabilities that hamper police responses to them. Despite these challenges, the rights of juveniles in policing contexts have not been the subject of considerable developments that would distinguish them from those of adults. The juvenile court revolution leading to the creation of a different system for responding to juveniles’ offending, for example, did not reach police. This chapter examines the failed development through search and seizure (4th Amendment) cases as well as those dealing with interrogation (5th Amendment). This line of cases reveals a recent development that does recognize how vulnerable juveniles might need additional protections, but a close look at those cases still reveals limited developments. Despite efforts to recognize juveniles’ potentially different needs, this area of law highlights the challenge of developing rights specifically for juveniles mainly because of the need to give police power to apprehend offenders, fight crime and protect society, which inevitably gives law enforcement considerable discretion to deal with juveniles as they would adults.