Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich has published an op-ed on Cleveland.com titled “All coercive state interrogations, including of juveniles, have constitutional due-process protections.” The op-ed criticizes a recent Ohio Supreme Court case, In re M.H., in which the Court held that the confession of a juvenile to a child protective services officer was voluntary. According to the Court’s plurality opinion, a confession can be rendered involuntary only when a police officer conducts the interrogation. Thus no matter what the child protective services investigator does during an interrogation, a resulting confession is always voluntary simply because the interrogator is not a police officer. Professor Witmer-Rich criticized this rule as inconsistent with fundamental principles of liberty and due process.
Professor Witmer-Rich is the Joseph C. Hotetler–Baker Hostetler Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Academic Enrichment.