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Week in Review: May 23-27

Summer Fridays! School's out (for most) and summer is on the way. This week, we're prepping for the SJDC Summit in Montgomery, Alabama next weekend, training our defenders on Juvenile Case Law Updates, and visiting Rutherford court. Let's recap the week.

Tip of the Week - Recording Juvenile Interrogations

Juveniles have the same rights to Miranda warnings and the additional right to the presence of a parent, guardian, or custodian during custodial interrogations pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-2101. Under this provision, in-custody admissions or confessions of those under 16 are not admissible unless such statements were made in the presence of the juvenile’s parent, guardian, custodian, or attorney. Notwithstanding the required presence of these individuals, only the juvenile can waive his/her rights. The court is also required to determine whether the juvenile knowingly, willingly, and understandingly waived any juvenile rights. Cases such as J.D.B. v. North Carolina, 564 U.S. 261 (2011) and In the Matter of D.A.H., ___ N.C. App. ___, No. COA20-212 (filed April 20, 2021) (located here set out the factors a court must consider to determine if a juvenile was in custody, if there was an interrogation and if any waiver was knowingly, voluntarily and understandingly made. How does counsel then reconcile differences in the client’s account of events with those of an officer, SRO, school personnel or other persons present during questioning?

N.C.G.S. 15A-211 requires electronic recording of juvenile custodial interrogations at any place of detention and of custodial interrogations of any person for certain named offenses. The recording must be audio and video whenever feasible and uninterrupted and must show both the interrogator and the juvenile. A place of detention is defined as a jail, police or sheriff’s station, correctional facility, holding facility for prisoners, or other facility where persons are held in custody in connection with criminal charges. Places of detention include youth development centers and juvenile detention facilities. Counsel could also argue that placements in psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs) or other level 4 placements and assessment centers pursuant to court orders qualify as places of detention.

N.C.G.S. 15A-211(f) sets out the remedies for noncompliance with the recording requirement and specifically requires the court to consider a failure to comply in adjudicating motions to suppress statements. Likewise, the failure to comply is admissible to support claims that a statement was not provided voluntarily or that the statement is unreliable. Defenders should utilize G.S. 15A-211 for motions to suppress and argue the stated purpose of the statute: “[T]o require the creation of an electronic record of an entire custodial interrogation in order to eliminate disputes about interrogations, thereby improving prosecution of the guilty while affording protection to the innocent and increasing court efficiency.” A sample motion to suppress is available on the OJD website at

OJD Sponsored CLE: Military Collateral Consequences

Join the Office of the Juvenile Defender as we learn about Military Collateral Consequences for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. First Sergeant J. Carlos Rojas with the North Carolina National Guard and Chief Public Defender, Lieutenant Colonel, and Military Judge Bert Kemp will discuss the process, procedure, and barriers that youth may face when trying to enter the military. Learn how to mitigate the impact that justice system involvement can have and learn how to advocate for youth wanting to join the military. This will be a virtual CLE with an interactive question and answer section. CLE Credit is pending approval and OJD will cover CLE costs. REGISTER BY CLICKING HERE



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