2021 Bills

HB 158: Protecting Kids in Police Investigations

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

If a child is taken into custody for an alleged criminal offense, they still have constitutional rights that need to be upheld, just like adults. But, because of their age and maturity, it may be more difficult to convey that and ensure their rights are prioritized during interrogation. Representative Marsha Judkins is sponsoring House Bill 158 in order to protect children during these difficult situations.

HB 158 reiterates a child’s right to remain silent and requires law enforcement to advise them anything they say can be used against them, that they have a right to an attorney, and to have their parent or guardian present during questioning. Currently, court rules require consent before waiving Miranda rights for those 14 years or younger, but this bill expands that to right every minor. This means anyone under the age of 18 must consent before waiving their rights.

The bill also addresses the rights of those who were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime but are between the ages of 18-21 when an investigation occurs. This legal category of individuals also need to have their Miranda rights protected, especially in their unique circumstances, and this bill ensures that will happen – even if their parent or lawyer are in the room.

Lastly, if a child is taken into detention, this bill ensures they have the right to talk privately to their attorney, their parents or guardians, or a member of their clergy.