CA SB 203

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CA SB 203
Short Title CA SB 203
Official Text CA SB 203
Country/Jurisdiction United States
State or Province California
Regulatory Bodies
Date Enacted 2020/09/03

Scope of the Law Minors, Parents

Taxonomy Decisional Interference, Interrogation

This state law is on interrogating anyone under 18 years old. Before a custodial interrogation occurs, minors are "required" to first consult with legal counsel, at least unless exigent circumstances exist.

Text of the law

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: Decisional Interference, Interrogation
(a) Developmental and neurological science concludes that the process of brain development continues into adulthood, and that the human brain undergoes significant changes throughout adolescence and well into young adulthood.
(b) The United States Supreme Court has recognized the following:
(1) Children are generally less mature and responsible than adults, often lacking the experience, perspective, and judgment to recognize and avoid choices that could be harmful to them.
(2) Children characteristically lack the capacity to exercise mature judgment and possess only an incomplete ability to understand the world around them.
(3) Children are generally more vulnerable to outside influences than adults and have limited understandings of the criminal justice system and the roles of the institutional actors within it.
(c) (1) Custodial interrogation of an individual by the state requires that the individual be advised of the individual’s rights and make a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of those rights before the interrogation proceeds.
(2) Youth under 18 years of age have a lesser ability than adults to comprehend the meaning of their rights and the consequences of waiving those rights.
(3) A large body of research has established that adolescent thinking tends to either ignore or discount future outcomes and implications, and disregard long-term consequences of important decisions.
(d) Addressing the specific context of police interrogation, the United States Supreme Court observed that events that would have a minimal impact on an adult can overwhelm an early teen child, noting that no matter how sophisticated the child may be, the interrogation of a child cannot be compared to the interrogation of an adult.
(e) The law enforcement community now widely accepts what science and the courts have recognized: that children and adolescents are much more vulnerable to psychologically coercive interrogations and other psychologically coercive dealings with the police than resilient adults experienced with the criminal justice system.
(f) For these reasons, in situations of custodial interrogation and prior to making a waiver of rights under Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, a youth under 18 years of age should consult with legal counsel to assist in their understanding of their rights and the consequences of waiving those rights.
SEC. 2. Section 625.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
625.6. (a) Prior to a custodial interrogation, and before the waiver of any Miranda rights, a youth 17 years of age or younger shall consult with legal counsel in person, by telephone, or by video conference. The consultation may not be waived.
(b) The court shall, in adjudicating the admissibility of statements of a youth 17 years of age or younger made during or after a custodial interrogation, consider the effect of failure to comply with subdivision (a) and, additionally, shall consider any willful violation of subdivision (a) in determining the credibility of a law enforcement officer under Section 780 of the Evidence Code.
(c) This section does not apply to the admissibility of statements of a youth 17 years of age or younger if both of the following criteria are met:
(1) The officer who questioned the youth reasonably believed the information the officer sought was necessary to protect life or property from an imminent threat.
(2) The officer’s questions were limited to those questions that were reasonably necessary to obtain that information.
(d) This section does not require a probation officer to comply with subdivision (a) in the normal performance of the probation officer’s duties under Section 625, 627.5, or 628.

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