Ensuring the Rights & Welfare of Children During Questioning
This policy paper examines the legal strictures that govern police interrogation of juveniles in order to provide recommendations of reform to the New Jersey State Legislature. It will encompass the procedures from the time in which the juvenile is taken into custody until the conclusion of the interrogation, and will include the reading of Miranda rights, presence of parents, attorneys, and/or other adults as advocates for the child, the recording of custodial interrogation, and proper juvenile interrogation tactics. This inquiry will examine existing practices and make recommendations for modifications or additions to current policy. The goals of this normative analysis will be to maximize the welfare of the juveniles and ensure their rights, while allowing for the exercise of justice.
Do Special Interest Contributions Influence State Supreme Court Decision-Making?
A study of oil, gas, mining, and logging interests in six states from 1998 to 2014
“An independent judiciary...is one of the crown jewels of our system of government today.” This quote by William Rehnquist encapsulates the traditional American attitude toward the role of the judiciary in our democracy. Courts are idealized to be the wise arbiters of our government, cutting through bias and politics in order to keep society and other government branches accountable through their counter-majoritarian role as reviewers and interpreters of legislation. This is what traditional separation of powers theory envisions.
The U.S. Supreme Court, whose lifetime appointment process embodies this vision, enjoys one of the deepest reservoirs of public legitimacy and good will of any American institution. Yet, our state judicial systems seem to have developed with a different vision in mind. State supreme court justices are elected by popular vote in 39 states. In fact, in the U.S., voters must regularly reelect 89% of state appellate judges. This concept of a popular judiciary does not go back to our founding, but it is peculiarly American.
Judges are policymakers of sorts, and with more than 90% of the U.S.’s judicial business conducted in state courts, state supreme court judges have the final say over many legal questions that have extensive policy implications for individuals and industries across society. Because judges inevitably influence policy outcomes, some think it makes perfect sense that voters elect these judges. Even so, we must be aware that when any official lives or dies by the polls, the controversial and complex world of campaign finance lurks in the background.
State supreme court elections are no exception. While state supreme court races in the early 1990s saw hard-money contribution levels around $8 million per year, the late 1990s marked a steady influx of contributions. 1998 saw $23 million in hard-money contributions; 2000 saw a record $44 million. Since then, state supreme court election years have steadily seen contribution levels in the $30-$40 million dollar range.