Police Lies: Important Change to Juvenile Interrogations Coming Soon

Juvenile CopWe have previously discussed in this Blog how Nevada law allows the police to question (i.e., interrogate) a juvenile without a parent being present. Read here.

The Nevada Legislature is very close to passing a law that would go a long way to lessening the coercive nature of police interrogations when it comes to juveniles (i.e., anyone under the age of 18). If passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Lombardo, Assembly Bill 193 would prohibit a police officer from lying to a juvenile during an interrogation in an attempt to get an incriminating statement from the person. A statement from a juvenile taken in violation of Assembly Bill 193 would be “presumed to be involuntary and inadmissible in any criminal or juvenile proceeding.” However, the prosecutor is able to overcome that presumption with enough evidence “that the statement was voluntary, reliable and not induced.” The proposed law has another exception when questioning occurs under circumstances where there is “an imminent threat to life or property.”

Believe it or not, under current law, police officers are allowed to lie to anyone they question about the evidence the police have against the suspect. For example, the police are allowed to tell a 14-year-old child who is suspected of a crime that the child’s DNA was found at the crime scene, even though this is not true. This type of coercive questioning can lead to a false confession. However, if passed, the law would not protect someone 18 and older from the police lying to them during questioning about the evidence the police have or don’t have.

You can read and track Assembly Bill 193 here. You can also contact your legislative representative and Governor Lombardo and urge them to pass this imporant law.

Nobles & Yanez has over 20 years of experience handling juvenile criminal cases, including those where a child has given a statement to the police. Call us if you need to discuss your or your child’s case.