Require Children to Have Lawyers During Interrogation and End Consent Searches of Children

Consistent with recommendations by the D.C. Police Reform Commission and other jurisdictions, children must have an opportunity to consult with counsel before police interrogations. Obtaining a child’s “consent” to a search or interrogation without a lawyer really isn’t consent at all. Children are more easily pressured and are two to three times more likely1,2 to falsely confess than adults. The District must do more to protect their legal rights. In Dr. Shameka Stanford’s study of justice-involved children in D.C., 85% of participants had learning disabilities and 90% of participants could not define 70% of the words used in Miranda warnings. 

Almost all of the children in D.C.’s juvenile and adult criminal legal systems are Black and Black children more likely to encounter law enforcement and learn early on to fear and comply – sometimes to their detriment.

Status: Not passed in 2022. Must be reintroduced.