October 3, 2016

Governor Brown, SCOTUS blunt the effect of Justice Liu’s juvenile Miranda dissent, for now

When the Supreme Court denied review of a Court of Appeal opinion that held a 10-year-old had knowingly waived his Miranda rights, Justices Goodwin Liu, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, and Leondra Kruger dissented.  Also, Justice Liu wrote a dissenting statement, which Justice Cuéllar signed.

Justice Liu’s dissent was unusual, and not just because it was the first such separate statement regarding a denial of review in over 50 years.  The statement included an express suggestion that the Legislature take action regarding juvenile Miranda issues, and it seemed written in part as a brief to encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case — In re Joseph H.

The Legislature responded positively to the dissent, passing a bill to require additional protections for juveniles prior to custodial interrogations.  Last week, however, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation.  But the veto was not a repudiation of Justice Liu’s dissent.  Rather, in his veto message, the governor said that, although he was “not prepared to put into law [the bill’s] categorical requirement that juveniles consult an attorney before waiving their Miranda rights,” the bill “presents profoundly important questions” and he vowed to “work with proponents, law enforcement and other interested parties to fashion reforms that protect public safety and constitutional rights.”

The dissent was not as effective at the U.S. Supreme Court level, at least not in this particular case.  That court today denied certiorari in Joseph H.

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