Emory Law Journal


This Comment considers the juvenile justice system and the application of the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination to children. It describes the development of the juvenile system and tracks its development up to In re Gault. Despite Gault’s significance and promising rhetoric, practical barriers still exist that undermine the full expression of children’s constitutional rights in the juvenile justice system. One of this Comment’s overarching goals is to reflect on how Gault’s central premise—that children are entitled to constitutional rights—can be more meaningfully achieved. Recognizing that its proposals are broad in scope, this Comment offers two possible rationales that could support adoption of its suggestions. With reference to the Supreme Court’s recent Eighth Amendment jurisprudence and to its cases that interpreted Miranda’s provisions, this Comment offers examples of how the Court’s existing precedent may allow the Court to adopt a heightened constitutional standard to protect children’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.