Dahlia Lithwick covers the huge Supreme Court case concerning Miranda rights for Slate. This provides me with the perfect opportunity to launch into something that’s been stewing for awhile. I personally believe that your Miranda rights should be read to you when you’re taken into custody by the police (the Supreme Court is deciding the constitutionality of a law that overrides the former Miranda ruling), and that furthermore, in the case of minors and mentally disabled people, it should be mandatory that an attorney be present for questioning. I don’t believe that most minors understand their Miranda rights, and thus are unable to exercise their fifth amendment rights and wind up offering confessions that should be thrown out. I’m thinking specifically here of the person who confessed in the West Memphis Three case. The boy was in high school at the time, and is by all accounts mildly retarded. That didn’t stop the police from questioning him for 12 hours (only the last 2 hours were taped). He was convicted on the basis of that confession, and the other two suspects were picked up on that basis as well (and later convicted, without the confession). No physical evidence tying the accused to the crime was ever found. I think that we should set up a clear rule that prevents potentially coerced confessions from being used as evidence in these cases.