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May 25, 2022 Feature

Judge Jane Bolin: Ahead of the Times, Part I: A Look at an Important Decision on Juvenile Interviews, In re Rutane

Judge Patria Frias-Colón & Irwin Weiss

Judge Patria Frias-Colón


Judge Patria Frias-Colón is Supervising Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Queens County; she previously served as a Family Court judge. 

Irwin Weiss


Irwin Weiss is court attorney to Judge Frias-Colón.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the outstanding research assistance provided by Todd Fitch, Cardozo Law School Class of 2022 (Kings County Civil Court Judicial Internship Program), and Rana Matared, New York Law School Class of 2023 (Dominican Bar Association’s Faviola Soto Judicial Internship Program); as well as Robert Zamora, University of Chicago Class of 2024 (Ron Brown Law School Preparation Internship Program), and Daniel Li, Fort Hamilton High School Class of 2022 (Sonia & Celina Sotomayor High School Judicial Internship Program), for their support and careful attention provided in the preparation of this Article. Thank you to Family Law Quarterly student Editor-in-Chief April Pacis (NYLS ’22), Executive Articles Editor Fatin Assaf (NYLS ’22), and all NYLS Family Law Quarterly editors for excellent editorial work. Special thanks go to Lisa Grumet, faculty Editor in Chief, Family Law Quarterly, and Director of the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families and Associate Professor of Law at New York Law School; and Karlene Dennis of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Minorities. Judge Frias-Colón also thanks her former colleagues from the New York City Law Department, especially the Family Court Division, for their inspiration and assistance.


When Jane M. Bolin passed away in 2007, she was 98 years old.1 She left behind a trail-blazing legacy from her experience as the first African American woman to (1) graduate from Yale Law School, (2) be hired as an attorney for the New York City Law Department,2 and (3) be appointed as a judge in the United States, specifically to the Domestic Relations Court of New York City (now called the New York City Family Court).3 Although Judge Bolin’s long, productive, and pioneering career may not have received all of the recognition owed, her life-story has been chronicled by others.4 Accordingly, the authors have determined instead to present Judge Bolin primarily through her cases, both civil and criminal, in two separate articles. This first article discusses In re Rutane,5 a juvenile delinquency case Judge Bolin dismissed after determining that the 13-year-old child’s confession had been involuntarily obtained by the police. Her decision finding the confession involuntary was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in In re Gault,6 its landmark decision concerning children’s right to counsel and to certain procedural protections in juvenile delinquency proceedings. The second article discusses other issues Judge Jane Bolin worked on as an attorney for the New York City Law Department and later when she served as a judge, with a focus on the area of child support.7

I. In re Rutane

In re Rutane8 was decided by Judge Bolin in November 1962, soon after the September 1962 effective date of the New York Family Court Act (FCA).9 The issue here was the voluntariness and appropriateness of the admissions by a youth who was questioned while in police custody.10 Rutane involved a 13-year-old boy who had been arrested for allegedly stabbing a man to death.11 After the police arrested him in front of his home, they did not immediately notify his parents but instead drove the boy to a parking lot where he was questioned.12 About an hour later, police took him to the precinct and then contacted his parents.13 As determined by Judge Bolin in the child’s juvenile delinquency hearing, even after the boy’s mother arrived at the precinct that afternoon, police continued to question him outside her presence until after he made an “admission” around 6:00 p.m., which was at least six hours into what had been continuous questioning.14 Judge Bolin noted that the police did not offer the child any food during his interrogation.15 Judge Bolin also found it significant that while the child said that the police had not hit him at the precinct, they had warned him that they would do so if he did not “tell the truth,” and he had subsequently confessed.16 She further concluded that the only evidence implicating the child was the child’s confession to the crime.17

Applying her factual findings, Judge Bolin addressed whether the child’s confession was voluntary.18 The court stated that FCA § 724 required the police, after taking a child into custody, to immediately notify the parent and then take the child directly to the family court or “a designated place for the reception of children,” with no detour to a police station house.19 Judge Bolin also cited subdivision 4 of § 5.0 of chapter 9 of the Rules and Procedures of the New York Police Department (NYPD), which stated that a child could not be taken to a police station except if the child was 15 and being “charged with a commission of an act which, if committed by an adult, would be punishable by death or life imprisonment.”20 In her decision, Judge Bolin wrote, “[o]ne of the purposes of this prohibition is to protect the child not only from contact with adult suspects but also from the frightening atmosphere of a station house.”21 Judge Bolin did not explain in her decision why a police station would be a “frightening atmosphere” for a child, but her characterization became part of the lexicon as it was used by the New Jersey Supreme Court, and then later by the U.S. Supreme Court in In re Gault.22 The judge stressed the importance of being particularly “vigilant” in protecting the fundamental rights of children.23

In addition to relying on the Family Court Act, Judge Bolin found that the police actions in this case violated Rutane’s due process rights. Judge Bolin compared the case before her to a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court several years before, Spano v. New York, which involved a “foreign-born” 25-year-old man with a junior high school–level education and no previous criminal record who had been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.24 Noting that the Spano defendant had retained counsel and then surrendered to police, only to be questioned for almost eight hours continuously by law enforcement, during which time he was denied any opportunity to consult with his attorney and then confessed to the crime, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction on the grounds that the confession was involuntary and therefore its admission into evidence violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.25 Finding a parallel to Spano in In re Rutane, Judge Bolin wrote that, for a child, a police precinct is a “frightening atmosphere.”26

While Judge Bolin analogized the facts of In re Rutane to those of Spano, Spano did not involve a juvenile delinquency proceeding. Vincent Joseph Spano was not a child.27 Rather, he was a 25-year-old who had a junior high school–level education, held regular employment, and, after being beaten up by the victim, obtained a gun, sought out the victim, and shot him.28 Further, Mr. Spano had subsequently told a friend who happened to be a police trainee that Spano intended to secure counsel and surrender himself.29 Spano surrendered to the police in his attorney’s presence, and the attorney instructed Spano to not answer questions.30 Spano refused to answer questions for more than five hours.31 Spano was refused access to his attorney after the arrest and was asked repeatedly by his friend, the police-trainee, to talk to detectives.32 Finally, Spano confessed after being questioned from 7:10 p.m. until 3:25 a.m. the next day.33 In suppressing his statements and reversing his conviction, the Supreme Court also noted that Mr. Spano had never been subjected previously to police interrogation and “had a history of emotional instability.”34 The Court further noted that the police’s use of Spano’s friend to persuade him to talk, coupled with fatigue, the constant attempts by police to question him, and their refusal to contact his attorney, overcame Spano’s will and rendered his confessions involuntary.35

Judge Bolin found that the holding in Spano, a criminal case, applied to the Family Court in the context of the juvenile delinquency proceeding in Rutane: “The Family Court, having exclusive jurisdiction over children the age of this respondent, must be ever vigilant to accentuate this grave, or even graver, responsibility where citizens of extreme youth are concerned.”36 The 13-year-old child in her case and the 25-year-old suspect in Spano both had their wills overcome, and, as a result, their confessions were involuntary. Judge Bolin reasoned that, consistent with the Spano decision, the FCA, and the NYPD guidelines, the “intimidating” detention of the child and the “unremitting” and “oppressive and overwhelming” interrogation rendered his statements to the police involuntary.37 Given that the statements were taken in the absence of the child’s parents or counsel, Judge Bolin ruled that the confession was inadmissible and, in the absence of any other evidence of guilt, dismissed the juvenile delinquency petition.38

In her opinion, Judge Bolin also drew from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Haley v. Ohio, which involved a teenage defendant but, like Spano, concerned a criminal conviction and not a juvenile delinquency proceeding.39 In Haley, a 15-year-old boy was arrested around midnight on a murder charge and was questioned by multiple teams of police officers until about 5:00 a.m. without benefit of counsel or any friend to advise him.40 When confronted with alleged confessions by his alleged accomplices, he signed a confession typed by the police.41 Even after his confession was secured, the teenager was kept from his parents and from counsel for three days, and the attorney retained by his mother was twice denied permission to see him.42 While the trial court admitted this confession into evidence, in reversing the conviction, the Supreme Court held that the methods used to obtain it violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.43 The Court said:

What transpired would make us pause for careful inquiry if a mature man were involved. And when, as here, a mere child—an easy victim of the law—is before us, special care in scrutinizing the record must be used. . . . That which would leave a man cold and unimpressed can overawe and overwhelm a lad in his early teens. . . . A 15-year-old lad, questioned through the dead of night by relays of police, is a ready victim of the inquisition.44

Although the Court acknowledged that the police advised the youth of his right against self-incrimination and right to counsel immediately before he signed the confession, the Court observed that a 15-year-old child, without the aid of counsel, may not have the capacity to exercise his “freedom of choice.”45 In any event, the Court concluded that “[t]he Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the police from using the private, secret custody of either man or child as a device for wringing confessions from them.”46 Judge Bolin similarly concluded in In re Rutane:

I find that the respondent’s confession, made after seven hours of continuous police interrogation, in the absence of his parents or counsel, while in a police station house, was not voluntary and consequently not reliable and not entitled to credit. This combination of circumstances where a child is involved is inherently coercive and the methods used in obtaining this “confession” violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.47

II. Influence of In re Rutane

There were several reported cases that cited Judge Bolin’s ruling as well as her analysis in In re Rutane during the 10 years following her decision. These cases included an important juvenile delinquency decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s pathbreaking decision in In re Gault.

A. New Jersey Supreme Court: State ex rel. Carlo

In 1966, in State ex rel. Carlo, the New Jersey Supreme Court reviewed the way confessions had been procured from 13-year-old J.A.C. and 15-year-old T.S. in the death of 10-year-old D.C.48 After D.C. was found strangled to death in a Jersey City tenement house, several boys from the neighborhood were taken into police custody for questioning.49 The two boys later charged, J.A.C. and T.S., made oral and written confessions and later testified at the juvenile delinquency trial that “their confessions were the product of fear and fatigue caused by extensive grillings by the police.”50 The trial court ruled that the confessions were properly admissible and made juvenile delinquent findings of second-degree murder.51

In reversing the trial court, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that based upon the totality of the circumstances in which the confessions were obtained, including the inconsistencies among and across the statements, the boys’ ages, the length and location of the questioning, and the police refusal to allow the parents access to their children, the state had failed to meet its burden of proving that the confessions were voluntarily made, requiring suppression.52 The supreme court noted substantial differences between the 15-year-old’s two statements.53 Also, the family and the police differed in that the police claimed the youth did not want to see their parents when they came to the precinct, but there was no dispute that the family for T.S. returned to the precinct four times and the family for J.A.C. returned five times seeking to see them, and the police refused.54 The court found the police hindered the parents’ attempts to see their children and “rode roughshod over the parent-child relationship in order to obtain confessions by intimidation.”55 To the extent that the state claimed that both boys were advised of their constitutional rights, the court deemed it “doubtful that these boys, age 15 and 13, had the mental capacity, particularly in the environment of a police station, to appreciate the extent of their rights and the consequences of a failure to exercise them.”56

The facts concerning the confessions were as follows: A detective took 15-year-old T.S. to the precinct from his home at around 4:00 p.m., informed him that he was a “prime suspect,” and proceeded to question him for about 45 minutes.57 Police then asked him to take a lie-detector test, to which both he and his parents, who had arrived at the precinct, agreed.58 Police then took him to the main police headquarters, where the officer administering the test first advised the youth he had the right to remain silent and to retain counsel.59 After the test, police continued to question him, and at around 8:30 p.m. he made an admission, which was followed at about 10:30 p.m. by a written confession after he was told that 13-year-old J.A.C. made statements inconsistent with T.S.’s statements.60 At around 11:00 p.m., after being taken back to the first police station, T.S. was placed in the same room with J.A.C. so that T.S. and J.A.C. could identify each other.61 T.S. was provided a meal for the first time since being in police custody for approximately seven hours.62 Questioning continued until 12:45 a.m., and then a detective prepared a typed statement from 12:45 until 2:00 a.m.63

Police took 13-year-old J.A.C. to the precinct at approximately 5:00 p.m., where he was questioned by two different detectives.64 One of the detectives told J.A.C. that any statement made would have to be voluntary, without explaining what “voluntary” meant, and J.A.C. was not told that he had a right to remain silent.65 J.A.C. was provided a meal shortly after making an admission around 10:00 p.m.66 J.A.C.’s statement was memorialized and concluded around midnight.67

The state’s position was that certain constitutional requirements that applied to criminal cases were inapplicable in juvenile court because it was a civil proceeding and not a criminal proceeding.68 The state argued that New Jersey statutes precluding those under the age of 16 from being charged with a crime were enacted to permit the state to take steps to rehabilitate rather than punish youthful offenders.69 Accordingly, the state claimed that “the direct application” of certain protective constitutional clauses was unavailable to youthful offenders.70

The court was not willing to excuse constitutional protections governing the admissibility of confessions.71 This position was primarily based on the court’s belief that “[i]nvoluntary confessions are likely to be untrue.”72 The court cited In re Rutane in support of its conclusion that “[u]se of an involuntary confession in a juvenile court proceeding offends fundamental fairness because of the likelihood of its untrustworthiness.”73 The court also reasoned that because juvenile proceedings involving homicides include procedures that are more akin to adult criminal trials, normal evidentiary rules of criminal trials did apply, including establishing the voluntariness of a confession.74

Noting that the New Jersey Legislature had mandated that no child under the age of 16 be placed in a police station,75 the court inferred that the legislature had determined that doing so was “likely to have harmful effects on the mind and will of” the child.76 The court again cited In re Rutane, and specifically quoted Judge Bolin’s language about the New York statute protecting children from “the frightening atmosphere of a station house.”77 Echoing this language, the court determined that the impact “of being placed and interrogated in the threatening atmosphere of an isolated room in a police station must be weighed in our determination of the voluntariness of [T.S.’s and J.A.C.’s] confessions.”78

B. U.S. Supreme Court: In re Gault

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the habeas corpus petition brought by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who was found to be a juvenile delinquent.79 The majority opinion held that due process requirements apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings and that the child had been denied due process, in part because he had not been notified of his right to counsel and protections against self-incrimination.80 The Court cited both Carlo and In re Rutane in support of its concern about the circumstances under which juveniles’ confessions are obtained and the trustworthiness of those confessions.81 In re Rutane was cited for Judge Bolin’s language about the impact of the “frightening atmosphere” of the police station.82

The Supreme Court also cited another New York case, In re Gregory W.83 This case involved two 12-year-old boys who were taken into custody in connection with the brutal rapes and assault of two elderly women; one of the women was murdered.84 The New York Court of Appeals noted that one of the boys, who was schizophrenic, was in an institution at the time of the attacks, yet police obtained a confession from him as well as the other boy.85 It further noted that the confessions were detailed but inconsistent.86 The court held that the confessions were the product of the will of the police rather than that of the boys and were therefore involuntary, and reversed the delinquency findings.87 Like Judge Bolin, the New York Court of Appeals concluded that due process requirements barring use of coerced confessions applied to juvenile delinquency proceedings in Family Court.88

C. Other Cases Citing In re Rutane

Judge Bolin’s decision in In re Rutane has been specifically cited in two other reported cases. In re Joseph S. was a 1969 New York County Family Court case involving a 13-year-old who allegedly injured one man by striking him over the head with a cane and killed another by strangling him with a rope.89 A detective testified that police questioned Joseph S. in a small coffee room after giving him the Miranda warnings90 and that when Joseph S. was asked if he understood the warnings, he shrugged.91 His mother testified that she asked to go into the room but was refused, and said she was not given and did not hear Miranda warnings.92 Joseph S. made a confession that the detective wrote down, and Joseph S. signed it after it was read back to him.93 The court suppressed Joseph S.’s written confession, finding that Joseph S. did not voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive his rights when he shrugged his shoulders in response to the Miranda warnings and could not have understood “the consequences of his confession without the advice and aid of a mature judgment.”94 The court also considered the circumstances, which involved “long hours of sleeplessness” in a police environment.95 To the ultimate question as to whether Joseph S. should be adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent, the court cited Judge Bolin’s decision in In re Rutane,96 stating that, “[i]f the inadmissible confession were the sole evidence of guilt, the juvenile delinquency petition as to the homicide would fall of its own weight and have to be dismissed by this Court.”97 However, the court adjudicated Joseph S. to be a juvenile delinquent, finding that other evidence was sufficient to allow the court to find him culpable of both the assault and the homicide, even without the confession.98

The New Jersey Supreme Court revisited In re Rutane in reversing the juvenile delinquency second-degree-murder finding against 10-year-old S.H., who was accused of pushing six-year-old B.R. into a canal, resulting in him drowning.99 The day after B.R. went missing, police went to S.H.’s school because he was one of the last people to see B.R.; the police did not consider S.H. a suspect at the time.100 S.H. told police that he had seen B.R. with two other young boys, and then saw a third older boy, Leroy, confront them and then leave with B.R.101 After police interviewed the two younger children, they returned to S.H.’s school and requestioned him, at which time S.H. claimed that Leroy had pushed B.R. into the canal.102 S.H. subsequently took police to the canal site and B.R.’s body was then found about 300 feet from where S.H. claimed B.R. had been pushed in by Leroy.103 S.H. then took police to where he claimed Leroy lived, but the child there was not named Leroy and had been in school at the time B.R. was pushed into the canal.104 S.H. was then taken to the police station, where he was deemed a prime suspect.105 At that time, S.H.’s father was at the precinct but was told that it was unnecessary for him to remain there, so he left.106

In a room normally used for adult interrogations, a detective read S.H. his Miranda warnings; he later testified that he explained each warning and that S.H. acknowledged understanding each warning.107 Around 6:30 p.m., about 90 minutes after the precinct questioning had begun and about five and one-half hours after police had returned to S.H.’s school to re-interview him, the detective concluded his questioning of the boy and had his father brought back to the precinct.108 The detective then asked S.H. to repeat, in his father’s presence, what he had told the detective, which he did.109 Based in part on S.H.’s confession, the trial court made a juvenile delinquency finding against S.H. for second-degree murder.110

In reversing the trial court, the appellate court cited Carlo for the principle that, in a juvenile case where a serious crime is charged, the state had the burden to show that “the accused’s will was not overborne” and that the confession resulted from the exercise of “free choice.”111 The court first noted that the “circumstances under which the station house interrogation was conducted showed a complete disregard for the well-being of the accused juvenile.”112 Further, the court, citing both Carlo and In re Rutane, said: “[p]lacing a young boy in the ‘frightening atmosphere’ of a police station without the presence of his parents or someone to whom the boy can turn for support is likely to have harmful effects on his mind and will.”113 The court criticized the police for interrogating S.H. alone in a police precinct office for 90 minutes and sending his father away from the precinct.114 The court further emphasized that “whenever possible,” young children should not be interrogated outside of the presence of their parents or a guardian.115 To the extent that the court accepted the police testimony about providing Miranda warnings, it discounted the impact of the warnings to a 10-year-old as “undoubtedly meaningless.”116 In light of the court’s conclusion that the child could not make a knowing and intelligent waiver of something he could not understand, the court held that the state had not proven sufficiently the voluntariness of the confession, and thus it should have been inadmissible.117 The court found that other evidence supported a delinquency finding of involuntary manslaughter, but not second degree murder.118 The New Jersey Supreme Court has more recently cited the invocation of Judge Bolin’s language in State ex rel. S.H. without directly citing In re Rutane.119


While it has been well-established that Judge Jane Bolin was a trailblazer for her academic and professional achievements, she was certainly ahead of the times when it came to establishing that children in juvenile delinquency proceedings are especially needing of due process protections like the right to counsel and the right against self-incrimination. Her characterization of the “frightening atmosphere” of a police station underlying her decision in In re Rutane was cited in key decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court.

An examination of Judge Bolin’s work as a judge shows that she was a strict interpreter of statutes and regulations that had been designed to protect the due process rights of children and, unlike some other courts, would apply them with the result that would render a seemingly unpopular decision to free a child charged with a serious crime, as she did in In re Rutane. Other courts have agreed, either explicitly or implicitly, with Judge Bolin’s concerns about the vulnerability of children to potential unfairly coercive police behavior in eliciting confessions. There are also courts that have upheld delinquency findings by concluding there was either other sufficient and independent evidence of guilt or that the violations of statutory protections for children in the areas of self-incrimination and right to counsel were inconsequential and could be ignored.120

Aside from her vigilant application of fundamental due process rights of youth caught up in police investigations of criminal behavior, Judge Bolin further emphasized the difference between a child and an adult charged with serious offenses by taking additional care to conceal their identities, possibly to better promote their chance of rehabilitation as opposed to the likely permanent stain of notoriety that would be unintended additional punishment. For example, in Judge Bolin’s In re Rutane decision, not only is the child suspect identified by the fictitious name of “John Rutane,”121 but the victim “Robert Roe” was likewise identified with a fictitious name.122 Further, other specific information that could lead to the suspect’s identification, like home addresses and murder location, were omitted.123

FCA § 166 states that “[t]he records of any proceeding in the family court shall not be open to indiscriminate public inspection.”124 This section of the law (together with the rest of the Family Court Act) became effective on September 1, 1962—less than three months before Judge Bolin issued her decision In re Rutane.

To conclude, a review of In re Rutane sheds light on Judge Bolin’s contributions in interpreting the U.S. Constitution and New York’s Family Court Act to protect children’s due process rights. Judge Bolin’s decision helped to pave the way for a better juvenile justice system focused on the needs and vulnerability of children.


1. Douglas Martin, Jane Bolin, the Country’s First Black Woman to Become a Judge, Is Dead at 98, N.Y. Times, (last updated Jan. 10, 2007).

2. See id.; David L. Goodwin, Judge Jane Bolin, Hist. Soc’y of the N.Y. Ct. (Feb. 21, 2018), The Law Department, where Jane Bolin served as an attorney from 1937 to 1939, has established an award in her honor: The Jane M. Bolin Diversity Leadership Award “recognizes and celebrates the outstanding contributions and significant impact by an exceptional member of the Law Department in promoting and advocating the office’s diversity goals.” Press Release, N.Y.C. Law Dep’t, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to Honor Law Department Staff at 32nd Annual Awards Ceremony (Dec. 12, 2013),

3. Hon. Jane M. Bolin: Judging Across Decades, Hist. Soc’y of the N.Y. Cts., (last updated Apr. 21, 2021).

4. See Jacqueline A. McLeod, The Life of Judge Jane Bolin: Daughter of the Empire State (2011); see also, e.g., Goodwin, supra note 2. Jane Bolin was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, in Dutchess County. McLeod, supra, at 1. Her mother, Matilda Emery Bolin, a white Northern Ireland–born immigrant, died when Judge Bolin was eight years old. Id. at 10–12. Her father, Gaius Charles Bolin, who was born a year before the Civil War ended, was the first African American graduate of Williams College, then an all-male, liberal arts college in Massachusetts. Id. at 5–6; Williams College Black Student Union, Black Williams: A Written History 4–6 (2011), After graduation, Gaius Bolin did a legal apprenticeship with a lawyer and was subsequently admitted to practice. McLeod, supra, at 7. He began his own general-practice firm in Poughkeepsie, where he raised Jane Bolin and her siblings. Id. at 7, 10. Judge Jane Bolin graduated from Wellesley College, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, and then launched her legal education and career. Id. at 17–21.

5. 234 N.Y.S.2d 777 (Fam. Ct. 1962).

6. 387 U.S. 1 (1967).

7. See infra p. 281, Judge Patria Frias-Colón & Irwin Weiss, Judge Jane Bolin: Ahead of the Times, Part II: A Look at Her Child Support Cases.

8. 234 N.Y.S.2d 777.

9. The Family Court Act created a statewide Family Court system and included procedural protections for youth involved in juvenile delinquency proceedings. 1962 N.Y. Laws ch. 686; see Merril Sobie, The Family Court: An Historical Survey, N.Y. State Bar J., July 1988, at 53, 53 n.1,; Merril Sobie, The Creation of Juvenile Justice: A History of New York’s Children’s Laws 158–64 (1987; republished 2012). There have been considerable changes to juvenile justice laws in New York State since that time, including the Juvenile Offender Act, under which 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds charged with certain serious crimes may be prosecuted in “adult” court instead of Family Court, Sobie, supra, at 169; and more recently, raising the age of criminal responsibility in most circumstances from 16 to 18, see N.Y. State Raise The Age Implementation Task Force, Final Report 1 (2020),, and raising the minimum age for prosecution from 7 to 12, 2021 Sess. Law News of N.Y. ch. 810 (S. 4051-A).

10. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d at 777–78.

11. Id. at 777.

12. Id. at 778.

13. Id.

14. Id.

15. Id.

16. Id.

17. Id.

18. Id.

19. Id.

20. Id. (quoting 9 R.& Procs. N.Y. Police Dep’t § 5.0(4)).

21. Id. (emphasis added). This decision appears to be the first published decision interpreting section 724 of the Family Court Act (based on a review of “citing references” listed in Westlaw under the statute).

22. State ex rel. Carlo, 225 A.2d 110, 118 (N.J. 1966); In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 53 n.93 (1967). See also State ex rel. A.A., 222 A.3d 681, 690 (N.J. 2020); State ex rel. A.W., 51 A.3d 793, 801 (N.J. 2012); State ex rel. S.H., 293 A.2d 181, 184 (N.J. 1972).

23. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d at 779.

24. 360 U.S. 315, 317, 320–22 (1959).

25. Id. at 317–24; U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

26. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d at 778.

27. Spano, 360 U.S. at 316.

28. Id.

29. Id. at 317.

30. Id.

31. Id. at 317–19.

32. Id. at 318–19.

33. Id. at 317–20.

34. Id. at 321–22.

35. Id. at 322–324.

36. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777, 779 (Fam. Ct. 1962).

37. Id. at 778.

38. Id. at 780.

39. 332 U.S. 596 (1948).

40. Id. at 597–98.

41. Id. at 598.

42. Id. at 598, 600.

43. Id. at 599–601; U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

44. Haley, 332 U.S. at 599.

45. Id. at 601.

46. Id.

47. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777, 780 (Fam. Ct. 1962).

48. State ex rel. Carlo, 225 A.2d 110 (N.J. 1966).

49. Id. at 112.

50. Id.

51. Id.

52. Id. at 120.

53. Id. at 113–14.

54. Id. at 114–15.

55. Id. at 119.

56. Id. at 120.

57. Id. at 113.

58. Id.

59. Id.

60. Id.

61. Id.

62. Id.

63. Id.

64. Id. at 114.

65. Id.

66. Id.

67. Id.

68. Id. at 115.

69. Id. at 115–16.

70. Id.

71. Id. at 116.

72. Id.

73. Id.

74. Id. at 116–17.

75. Id. at 118 (citing N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4-33). N.J. Stat. Ann § 2A:4-33 has been repealed and replaced, and the age of a minor who ordinarily cannot be placed in a police station has been raised from 16 to 18 years. N.J. Stat. Ann § 2A:4A-37(c).

76. Carlo, 225 A.2d at 118.

77. Id.

78. Id. at 119.

79. See In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967).

80. Id. at 12, 27–31, 34–55.

81. Id. at 46, 52–54 (citing Carlo, 225 A.2d 110); id. at 53 n.93 (citing Carlo quoting In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777 (Fam. Ct. 1962)).

82. Id. at 53 n.93 (stating that the Carlo court had “emphasized that the ‘frightening atmosphere’ of a police station is likely to have ‘harmful effects on the mind and will of the boy,’ citing In Matter of Rutane, 37 Misc.2d 234, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777 (Fam. Ct. Kings County, 1962)”).

83. Id. at 46, 48–49 (citing In re Gregory W., 224 N.E.2d 102 (N.Y. 1966)).

84. Id. at 103–04.

85. Id. at 104–05.

86. Id. at 105 n.1.

87. Id. at 105–07.

88. Id. at 105–06.

89. 308 N.Y.S.2d 943, 945 (Fam. Ct. 1969).

90. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

91. In re Joseph S., 308 N.Y.S.2d at 947–48.

92. Id. at 948.

93. Id.

94. Id. at 950–52.

95. Id. at 951–53.

96. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777 (Fam. Ct. 1962)); U.S. Const. amends. V, VI, XIV.

97. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d at 953.

98. In re Joseph S., 308 N.Y.S.2d at 954–56.

99. State ex rel. S.H., 293 A.2d 181, 182 (N.J. 1972).

100. Id. at 182–83.

101. Id. at 183.

102. Id.

103. Id.

104. Id.

105. Id.

106. Id.

107. Id.

108. Id. at 182–83.

109. Id.

110. Id. at 182.

111. Id. at 184 (citing State ex rel. Carlo, 225 A.2d 110, 115 (N.J. 1966)).

112. Id.

113. Id. (citing Carlo, 225 A.2d at 118; In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777, 778 (Fam. Ct. 1962)).

114. Id.

115. Id.

116. Id.

117. Id. at 185.

118. Id. at 185–86. The court held that, even omitting the confession, there was enough independent evidence for the court to find that S.H. caused B.R.’s death and to adjudicate S.H. a juvenile delinquent. Id. at 185. However, the court also determined that S.H. had been operating at a mental capacity even lower than his age and, in light of that, found insufficient evidence to show that his actions met the mens rea requirements for second degree murder. Id. at 186.

119. See State ex rel. A.A., 222 A.3d 681, 689–90 (N.J. 2020) (“This Court has stressed the critical role parents have when juveniles are interrogated. . . . [N]early a half-century ago, the Court observed that ‘[p]lacing a young boy in the “frightening atmosphere” of a police station without the presence of his parents or someone to whom the boy can turn for support is likely to have harmful effects on his mind and will.’”) (quoting S.H., 293 A.2d at 184); State ex rel. A.W., 51 A.3d 793, 801 (N.J. 2012) (“In the context of examining the voluntariness of a ten-year-old’s confession . . . ‘placing a young boy in the “frightening atmosphere” of a police station without the presence of his parents or someone to whom the boy can turn for support is likely to have harmful effects on his mind and will.’”) (quoting S.H., 293 A.2d at 184).

120. See, e.g., In re Luis P., 74 N.Y.S.3d 221, 228–31 (1st Dep’t), aff’d, 117 N.E.3d 814 (N.Y. 2018) (oral and written confessions were found voluntary and therefore admissible where the youth and his mother acknowledged that they understood the Miranda warnings, but then the mother left the interrogation room); In re Emilio M., 332 N.E.2d 874 (N.Y. 1975) (strict compliance with Family Court Act § 724 was excused in a case involving manslaughter, assault, and weapons possession); State ex rel. A.W., 51 A.3d 793 (N.J. 2012) (the confession of A.W., a 13-year-old bilingual youth who had been brought to the police station by his Spanish-speaking father, was properly admitted to evidence when A.W. was first interviewed in Spanish, then asked to continue the interview in English without his father present (to which the father agreed), and then confessed to sexual assault of his five-year-old cousin).

121. In re Rutane, 234 N.Y.S.2d 777, 777 n.* (Fam. Ct. 1962) (first footnote).

122. Id. at 777 n.* (second footnote). As documented in Jacqueline McLeod’s biography of Judge Bolin, Judge Bolin wrote a critical letter to an attorney representing a child in a juvenile delinquency proceeding who had given an interview and posed for a picture with his juvenile client and the client’s father in El Diario, a New York City Spanish-language newspaper, stating: “It took some of us judges in this court several years, much correspondence and many conferences to obtain the consent of our New York newspapers to withhold from their news items the names of children allegedly or actually involved in acts leading to their appearance in the Children’s Court.” McLeod, supra note 4, at 70–71.

123. Compare Judge Bolin’s opinion to, for example, Carlo, where not only were the 15-year-old and 13-year-old suspects identified in the published decision, but their addresses as well as the name and address of their 10-year-old victim were likewise listed. 225 A.2d 110, 112–15 (N.J. 1966).

124. See N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 166 (1962).

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