Testimony and Interrogation of Minors: Assumptions About Maturity and Morality

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Abstract

This article examines the legal histories and social contexts of testimony and interrogation involving minors, developmental research on suggestibility and judgment, interactions between development and legal/sociological contexts, and the reasoning behind how minors are treated in different legal contexts. The authors argue (a) that young witnesses, victims, and suspects alike possess youthful characteristics that influence their ability to validly inform legal processes, some of which were recently recognized by the Supreme Court as they apply to the juvenile death penalty, and (b) that consideration should be given to reforming current practices in the context of juvenile interrogation.

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