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Adjudication hearing More than a million cases of alleged delinquency brought before the juvenile court each year More than half are petitioned to court.

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Presentation on theme: "Adjudication hearing More than a million cases of alleged delinquency brought before the juvenile court each year More than half are petitioned to court."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adjudication hearing More than a million cases of alleged delinquency brought before the juvenile court each year More than half are petitioned to court About 150,000 status offenses brought before juvenile court, and about half of them are adjudicated

2 Types of juvenile courts 1. Part of a trial court 2. An independent court 3. Part of a family court Usually includes a juvenile judge, probation staff, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and various social service programs

3 Federal system Tries not to handle juveniles, turning them over to the state system Must be a violent felony, a drug trafficking or importation offense, or a firearms offense Can be tried as an adult if the person is 15 and one of the above offenses is involved Very small number adjudicated, many of them Native American Indians

4 Juvenile Prosecutor Staff member of prosecutor’s office Appointed or elected May work with juveniles exclusively, or as part of a case load (depends on the size of the jurisdiction) Were generally not involved in the juvenile court prior to the 1960s

5 Juvenile prosecutor: functions Investigations Work with police, probation, and a variety of social service agencies, psychologists Prepare petitions Represent the state at the time of detention hearing, transfer hearings, adjudications, disposition hearings, plea bargains, appeals, probation violations

6 Juvenile prosecutors Very broad discretionary powers Quasi-judicial immunity Must balance protection of the people with the best interests of the child Need for training in child development, treatment, etc.

7 Juvenile judges Functions Rules on motions Detention decisions Makes decisions about plea bargaining and informal adjustments Handles adjudications, settles questions of evidence and procedure

8 Juvenile judges Makes disposition decisions, waivers Selection: appointments, elections Quality of judges varies considerably National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges—professional organization Juvenile and Family Court Journal

9 Defense attorneys for juveniles Gideon applies to juveniles who may lose their liberty Public defenders, private attorneys, appointed counsel Guardian ad litem: court appointed attorney who protects the interests of the child—common in d/n cases, may be used in others, particularly if the youth has special needs

10 Defense attorneys CASA: court appointed special advocates: volunteers who investigate the child’s needs and act as liaison between the judge, the attorneys, and the child, seeking the best placement and treatment

11 Role of the defense attorney Disagreement about the role Advocate fighting for acquittal? Guardian? Poor quality of defense Many waive their right to counsel Most likely in the more serious cases

12 Defense attorney At the adult level, attorneys are clearly helpful Paid attorneys get better outcomes Those who proceed pro se do poorly At the juvenile level, this is not the case— those with counsel get worse dispositions Probably related to the seriousness of the offense

13 Adjudication hearing Hearing will determine: Whether child is delinquent or in need of supervision (status offender) Not guilty Dismissal because of insufficient evidence Informal alternatives (continuance with the possibility of dismissal for good behavior)

14 In re Gault (1967) Gerald was 15 and on probation Taken into custody because of a complaint from a woman that he had made an obscene phone call Parents not informed that he was taken into custody Questioned by judge, released from detention a few days later

15 In re Gault Hearing held: complainant not present, no transcript. Probation officer indicated that Gerald had admitted to making the calls Neither Gerald nor the parents were advised of their 5 th amendment rights No counsel Gerald committed to the state school for 6 years (until 21, unless released earlier)

16 In re Gault The maximum punishment for an adult for this crime was $50 or two months in jail The AZ Supreme Court indicated that Gerald had no right to appeal as a juvenile, as records were not kept of juvenile proceedings

17 In re Gault The U.S. Supreme Court established the following rights: 1. Right to notice 2. Right to counsel 3. Right to confrontation and cross- examination during the adjudication proceeding

18 In re Gault 4. Miranda rights 5. Right to a written record of the proceedings and the decision 6. Right to appeal There is evidence that these rights have only been partially implemented Passive resistance to the Gault decision

19 In re Winship (1970) Winship found guilty of larceny based on preponderance of the evidence, and placed in reform school for an initial period of 18 months. U.S. Supreme Court decided that there should be proof beyond reasonable doubt when loss of liberty was at stake

20 McKeiver v. PA At the adult level, there is a right to a jury trial in certain types of cases (where the potential penalty is at least 6 months of incarceration (Duncan v. LA) U.S. Supreme Court indicated that juveniles do not have a right to a jury trial Not an essential element of fact-finding

21 McKeiver v. PA It would turn juvenile justice into an adversarial process Juries would mean more delays (which juveniles cannot afford), and more publicity

22 Appealing decisions Determined by statute In most jurisdictions, the juvenile is given a statement after the decision Usually must appeal within a particular time frame Appeals based on the record Appeals can be overturned or a new trial could be ordered

23 Appeals Usually appeals are based on improper handling of evidence, or decisions by the judge during the course of the proceedings Collateral attack: habeas corpus—child is being held illegally in detention or an institution Few cases appealed

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