On June 12, 2018, the Schubert Center, with the assistance of Marsha Levick at the Juvenile Law Center, joined several other organizations in submitting an amicus or “friend of the court” brief to the Ohio Supreme Court in support of a lower court’s ruling that upheld a child’s rights to special constitutional protections during interrogations and a child’s rights to Miranda warnings when interrogated at school (In re L.G.). In the case before the Ohio Supreme Court the appellant was interrogated by a school resource officer and his admission of wrongdoing in the interrogation led to his immediate arrest. The school resource officer did not advise the appellant of his Miranda rights before the interrogation. The state has argued that Miranda warnings are not required when a teenager is questioned by school personnel. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that children require “special care” to ensure that any incriminating statements they make do not violate their due process rights. The lower courts have ruled that given the circumstances L.G. should have been read his Miranda rights as it was not clear that the school resource officer was not acting as a law enforcement official.
The Schubert Center is interested in ensuring that public policies and legal determinations impacting children are informed by reliable research, aligned with principles of child and adolescent development and consistent with professional practice promoting child well-being. We have been engaged in state level policy efforts to provide guide to law enforcement on age-appropriate interactions with youth and to clarify the roles and expectations for school resource officers. These are issues directly addressed by this case and the implications of this decision are of concern to us.
On September 20, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio released its opinion in L.G. The Court, in a 4-3 decision, dismissed the case as improvidently granted.