Capacities Related to Adjudicative Competence and Validity of Miranda Warnings (Cognitive and Psychosocial Development)

These studies demonstrate that on average, younger youth (15 and under) may be more likely to have impairments related to adjudicative competence and Miranda comprehension. These impairments are most likely due to the fact that they are still developing cognitive capacities (i.e., the capacity to think, reason, and process information). However, it is important to understand that older youth may demonstrate impairments as well, particularly if they have lower IQs or have learning disabilities. In addition, youth’s psychosocial immaturity (e.g., compliance with adults) makes them more vulnerable than adults to coercion in interrogation settings.

Jodi Viljoen & Ronald Roesch, Competence to Waive Interrogation Rights and Adjudicative Competence in Adolescent Defendants: Cognitive Development, Attorney Contact, and Psychological Symptoms, 29 Law & Hum. Behav. 723 (2005).

Purpose

Methodology

Results

  1. Older youth performed better on tests related to adjudicative competence and Miranda comprehension and reasoning than younger youth.
  2. Cognitive abilities (e.g., general intellectual ability) for youth who are eleven to 15 years old are significantly lower than for youth who are aged 16 and 17.
  3. Cognitive abilities were strongly related to participants’ performance on the tests related to adjudicative competence and Miranda comprehension and reasoning.
  4. Psychological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, behavior problems) were not related to performance on Miranda instruments regarding adjudicative competence. However, a symptom of ADHD (e.g., excitation) was related to understanding of Miranda warnings, as well as communication with attorneys on a measure of adjudicative competence.

 Relevance

Thomas Grisso et al., Juveniles’ Competence to Stand Trial: A Comparison of Adolescents’ and Adults’ Capacities as Trial Defendants, 27 Law & Hum. Behav. 333 (2003).

Purpose

Methodology

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Relevance

 

Laurence Steinberg et al., Are Adolescents Less Mature than Adults? Minors’ Access to Abortion, the Juvenile Death Penalty, and the Alleged APA “Flip-Flop’, 64 Am. Psychol.583 (2009).

Purpose

Methodology

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Relevance