The police brought Shawn, who is fourteen years old, to the police station because he was the main suspect in a murder that happened around 3 a.m., approximately two hours earlier. The police read Shawn his Miranda warnings two times, but he waived them both times. One of the detectives asked Shawn twice if he wanted his parents present, but Shawn said no both times. Shawn had never been in trouble with law enforcement before. He was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Shawn spoke English fluently and had completed eighth grade. Shawn then confessed to the murder and, right after doing so, again told the police that he understood his rights.
What amendment is at issue here? [5th Amendment]
What do you think the Court ruled when Shawn tried to suppress his confession? [The Court held that “despite [Shawn’s] age and the absence of a parent, counsel, or other interested adult, the totality of the circumstances supports the trial court’s finding that [Shawn’s] waiver of his Miranda rights was knowing and intelligent under the specific facts of this case.”]
What do you think “totalities of the circumstances” means? [That no one fact alone is enough]
What circumstances do you think were important to the Court? [His age, his fluency with English, the grade level that he had completed, that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the lack of evidence of police coercion, the fact that he had the opportunities to have his parents present, the duration of the interview.]