Nowhere in the Act is there any requirement of consent by the parents to a particular course of action by the juvenile. M.I.M., 932 F. 2d at 1018. It has been held that a minor may waive the privilege against self-incrimination as well as take an appeal without parental consent. United States v. White Bear, 668 F. 2d 409, 411-12 (8th Cir. 1982). Although the Act requires notice to parents at certain stages of the proceedings, these are deemed as procedures to aid a juvenile in the exercise of rights rather than making the parents the determiner when the juvenile and parents disagree over a particular decision involving the juvenile under the Act. M.I.M., 932 F. 2d at 1018. The Act gives the juvenile in the federal court system the same rights as an adult defendant, and there is no indication that a juvenile's parents should be able to block the exercise of those rights. Id. at 1017. At least one court has noted that the issue would be more complex if the minor was much younger than the age of eighteen. Id. The Act provides for the appointment of a guardian ad litem if the court believes the minor needs additional adult advice in order to have his or her rights safeguarded. 18 U.S.C.A. § 5034 (West 1985).
Updated May 19, 2015