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YARBOROUGH V. ALVARADO (02-1684) 541 U.S. 652 (2004)
316 F.3d 841, reversed.
Syllabus
 
Opinion
[ Kennedy ]
Concurrence
[ O’Connor ]
Dissent
[ Breyer ]
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541 U.S. ____ (2004)

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


No. 02—1684

MICHAEL YARBOROUGH, WARDEN, PETITIONER v. MICHAEL ALVARADO

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

[June 1, 2004]

    Justice O’Connor, concurring.

    I join the opinion of the Court, but write separately to express an additional reason for reversal. There may be cases in which a suspect’s age will be relevant to the Miranda “custody” inquiry. In this case, however, Alvarado was almost 18 years old at the time of his interview. It is difficult to expect police to recognize that a suspect is a juvenile when he is so close to the age of majority. Even when police do know a suspect’s age, it may be difficult for them to ascertain what bearing it has on the likelihood that the suspect would feel free to leave. That is especially true here; 17½-year-olds vary widely in their reactions to police questioning, and many can be expected to behave as adults. Given these difficulties, I agree that the state court’s decision in this case cannot be called an unreasonable application of federal law simply because it failed explicitly to mention Alvarado’s age.