The Importance Of Miranda Warnings

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Juveniles, particularly younger juveniles, are unable to comprehend the Miranda warning, and, by extension, exercise their Miranda rights, for biological reasons, specifically their developmental immaturity. According to Rogers et al.’s study (Rogers, Blackwood, Fidducia, Steadham, Drogin, & Rogstad 2012), Miranda warnings are inherently incomprehensible to juveniles because they demand an advanced level of reading comprehension most often not yet attained by the juveniles. The study consolidated a sum of 293 juvenile Miranda warnings issued in 238 counties in 38 states and used the Flesch-Kincaid, a commonly accepted estimate of grade level used in other Miranda-related research and that corresponds with standardized reading tests, to gauge grade-level estimates. Rogers et al. found that 2.2% of Miranda waivers were written at a college graduate level, 5.2% necessitated some college preparation, and 52.1% of Miranda warnings necessitated at least an eighth-grade education, which poses a significant threat to particularly underserved preteen suspects. Only 7.3% of juvenile warnings were marked as easily comprehensible or at below a fifth-grade education level, which would optimize juvenile comprehension. It’s significant to note that juveniles cannot then intelligently waive their Miranda rights if the language exceeds their reading comprehension level. Grisso et al. demonstrate this understanding of juveniles’ developmental immaturity in their comprehensive study concerning

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