[c]ourt-appointed psychologists found no evidence that A.M. was capable of murder, and in fact were so skeptical of his guilt that they recommended he not be placed in a locked, out-of-state residential facility . . . . One of the doctors even remarked that the boy would have little need for any psychiatric treatment if it werent for the grueling proceedings around the murder investigation.
Although a suspect is always free to waive the privilege and confess to committing crimes, that waiver must never be the product of police coercion . . . the requirement of voluntariness applies equally to adult and juvenile confessions . . . [and] younger offenders present a special circumstance in the context of police interrogation.
This State, like all others, has recognized the fact that juveniles many times lack the capacity and responsibility to realize the full consequences of their actions . . . . It would indeed be inconsistent and unjust to hold that one whom the State deems incapable of being able to marry, purchase alcoholic beverages, or even donate their own blood, should be compelled to stand on the same footing as an adult when asked to waive important . . . rights at a time most critical to him and in an atmosphere most foreign and unfamiliar. Therefore . . . criteria must be met for a juvenile to voluntarily and intelligently waive his rights against self-incrimination . . . .
Our determination that respondent has not proved a valid waiver, however . . . is consistent with the protective ethic of our juvenile law that at the accusatory stage of the process a juvenile have . . . guidance as to whether he will waive his constitutional rights . . . to remain silent . . . . And since a juvenile who confesses at the accusatory state has, in most instances, already had his trial, to deprive him at that state of . . . assistance would render meaningless [protective measures taken during trial].
Id. (quoting In re K.W.B., 500 S.W.2d 275, 28182 (Mo. Ct. App. 1973)); see also Huang, supra note 96, at 449.
is not in a position to . . . protect the Fifth Amendment rights of an accused undergoing custodial interrogation that a lawyer can offer . . . . He is significantly handicapped by the position he occupies in the juvenile system from serving as an effective protector of the rights of a juvenile suspected of a crime.
442 U.S. at 722.
[t]herefore the question of whether to throw out a juveniles confession is more complex than merely looking at the juveniles age. If a juvenile under 10 is involved in a murder, or any serious crime, something has gone terribly wrong in that young persons life even before the crime was committed . . . . I recognize that views diverge on whether it is ever possible for a juvenile to waive his or her rights under such circumstances. But, under Illinois law, if we are to address the underlying problems that cause a juvenile to commit such a crime, we have no alternative but to proceed in a juvenile system that has become increasingly adversarial in nature, not always to the benefit of . . . the accused.