steal a truck from an individual who was less than cooperative. Soto
shot the truck owner, who subsequently died.
About a month after the incident, a detective called Alvarado's
mother saying he wanted to speak with her son.
Dutifully, Alvarado's parents brought him to the police station
and allowed the police to interrogate him. Alvarado's parents wanted
to attend the interrogation, but were not permitted to be present.
The question here is whether or not Alvarado should have had his
Miranda rights brought to his attention before he was interrogated.
In a 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court held that it was
just fine for this interrogation to take place without Alvarado being
read his Miranda rights. The court held that someone's relative youth
is not a factor in the decision as to whether or not the individual
has to be read is Miranda rights. The court indicated that all that
matters is whether or not a reasonable person being questioned in
Alvarado's circumstances would feel that he was free to leave if he
wanted to. The court decided that Alvarado reasonably would have felt
that he was free to leave. The court held that the fact that Alvarado
is 17 is not a factor the police need to consider when deciding under
what situations a Miranda warning is required.
The court ruled that both age and an individual's previous
experience with law enforcement are not relevant in this decision.
Dissenting justices indicated their belief one's age should be a
According to Alvarado's appellate attorney, this decision is a
"To say that police can question children in interrogation rooms
... and treat them as having the same perceptions as adults is
absurd," said Tara Allen of Malibu, who represented Alvarado on
I think Allen is overstating her case by referring to Alvarado as
a child. However, I understand where she is coming from. Her belief
is that those who are young are most in need of their Miranda
warnings, and they are going to be denied these warnings in the
I have a different problem with this decision. I do not see how
the court could have thought that Alvarado believed that he was free