The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution protects individuals from being forced to incriminate themselves. Before interrogating a person in custody, the police have to tell them of their right to remain silent and that what they say could be used against them. The police must also advise them of the right to speak with an attorney before being question and to have the attorney present. The police must inform them of their right to counsel, which may be appointed if they cannot afford one. Finally, the police have to advise them of their right to stop the questioning. Under Washington law, a juvenile has the same rights against self-incrimination as adults. The rights of a juvenile under 12 years old may only be waived by a parent, guardian, or custodian, but a juvenile at least 12 years old may waive their own rights. RCW 13.40.140.
In a recent case, a juvenile defendant appealed her conviction arguing her Miranda waiver should not be considered valid. According to the appeals court’s opinion, when the defendant was 11 or 12 years old, she took videos of her friend, who was the same age, showering and getting dressed. After the defendant turned 13, the friend learned the videos were posted on the defendant’s Snapchat account. The friend asked her to delete them. The defendant denied posting them and said she did not have a phone anymore and that her Snapchat account was hacked.
The friend’s stepfather contacted the defendant’s mother, but the mother also stated the defendant did not have a device to post them. A third girl testified she saw the videos when the defendant posted them to a group chat including her and the friend that evening.