March 28, 2018

YLC joins amicus brief in support of Brendan Dassey

The Youth Law Center is deeply committed to ensuring that young people’s developmental needs and particular vulnerabilities are taken into account at every stage of the criminal justice process. This is especially important when young people are being questioned by the police. Teenagers are less able to understand their Miranda rights, may be more intimidated by tactics that would not have the same effect on an adult, and may feel a desire to please adults that leads them to act against their own interests — and even make false or coerced confessions.
That’s why the Youth Law Center has joined the Juvenile Law Center and eight other advocacy organizations in an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of Brendan Dassey. Dassey, whose case came to national attention through the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer”, is asking the Supreme Court to review his conviction — a conviction based in significant part on a confession Dassey made after a lengthy police interrogation. The team of advocates behind the amicus brief contend that Dassey’s confession could not have been voluntary when taking into account his age, developmental immaturity, and educational impairments. It is crucial that courts take these factors into account when determining whether a young person’s statements to police are voluntary.
Click here to read the official press release from Juvenile Law Center.