2 HistoryThe first juvenile court was created in 1899 in Cook County, ILIt was founded on the idea that juvenile offenders don’t just need punishment – they also need protection and rehabilitation.Sometimes parents cannot (or will not) take care or control of their children, so the government must step in and take overParens patriae:Literally means “parent of the country” in LatinIt is interpreted to mean that the court can assume the role of a parent in teaching the childJuvenile courts were designed to be informalMoralistic approachTeach them community values
3 HistoryBefore 1967, juveniles did not have the same Due Process rights that adults did.Due Process rights are spelled out by the ConstitutionIn re Gault: In 1967, the Supreme Court decided In re Gault and held that juveniles deserve the same rights to Due Process, including:The right to notification of the charges against themThe right to an attorneyThe right to confront and cross-examine witnessesThe right to remain silent
4 Procedures of juvenile court (Green stands for the term that would be used in adult court)Commits offense (crime)Taken into custody (arrested)Intake:Interview to consider the seriousness of the offenseInitial or Detention hearing:State proves that an offense was committed and that there is reasonable cause to believe that the accused committed it
5 Procedures of juvenile court Adjudicatory hearing (trial): Fact-finding hearing to determine the facts of the case. Closed to the public (unlike adult trials) Dispositional hearing: Judge decides what sentence, or disposition, the offender should receive. The sentence is based on the predisposition report, which is a result of an investigation of the juvenile’s background
6 Procedures of juvenile court Probation OR Juvenile institution (jail)
7 Probation Probation is the most common disposition On probation, a juvenile must follow a set of conditions and meet regularly with a probation officer to make sure they are meeting their conditions.The juvenile may be ordered to:Attend school regularlyHold a steady jobAttend counseling sessionsTake weekly drug testsBe home by 8:00 pmStay away from certain people
8 Types of juvenile cases Delinquent offenders: Youths who have committed acts that would be considered crimes if committed by adults under federal, state, and local law.For example, the 12-year-old in In re Winship stole $112 from a woman, which would be considered larceny had he been an adult.
9 Types of juvenile cases: Status offenders Status offenders: Youth who have committed acts that would not be crimes if committed by adultsFor example:Running away from homeSkipping schoolViolating curfewRefusing to obey parentsUnderage consumption of alcohol
10 Status offenders continued Status offenders may be emotionally troubled, consistently disobedient, or have alcohol and drug problems.Other offenders may be trying to escape abusive or difficult home situations.However, a single act of unruly behavior is not enough to say that a juvenile is in need of court supervision.Most states require proof that the young person is “out of control”Status offenders make up 20% of all juvenile arrests
11 Types of juvenile cases Neglected or abused children: These children need the court’s protection from a parent or guardian.Case of neglect: Parent/guardian is charged with failing to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical careCase of abuse: Child has been sexually, physically, or emotionally abusedIn either case, the court has to decide if the child should stay with the family, with other relatives, or in foster care.
12 Transferring juveniles to adult court Juvenile court jurisdiction extends through age 17Juvenile waiver: Allows juvenile court judges to “waive” juveniles to adult court for prosecution (after a hearing)Statutory exclusion: This is an automatic transfer. A state law requires certain offenses committed by juveniles to be prosecuted in adult courtDirect File: Gives prosecutors discretion to file charges against juveniles in adult criminal court
13 Should juveniles be tried as adults? Young offenders who are convicted in the adult criminal system almost always face harsher sentencesThey are in jail with adult criminalsThey don’t always receive rehabilitation programs like they would in juvenile correctional facilitiesTheir criminal records are permanent and publicJuvenile records, though, are usually sealed from the public
14 Should juveniles be tried as adults? In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that states may not impose the death penalty on offenders who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimesIn 2010, they ruled that juveniles who commit crimes in which no one was killed may not be sentenced to life in prison without the chance of paroleThey thought that would be “cruel and unusual punishment,” which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution
15 Illinois lawIn Illinois, someone as young as 13 can be sent to the adult court if he/she is accused of murder, armed robbery, unlawful use of weapons on school grounds, and other serious offenses (see handout)In Mexico and most Latin American countries, juveniles can never be sent to the adult criminal system
16 Arguments FOR punishing young offenders as adults Retribution: Offenders should be punished in proportion to the offense they committedViolent offenders deserve the most punishment possible under the lawThis gives the victims (or family of the victims) a sense of justice“They got what they deserved”
17 Arguments FOR punishing young offenders as adults Deterrence: Youth who know they could be sent to an adult prison may be deterred (or discouraged) from committing those crimesIt is sometimes believed that gang members and drug lords recruit young people to commit crimes for them, knowing that they will receive less serious punishmentsTherefore, adult-level punishment would deter this from happening
18 Arguments FOR punishing young offenders as adults Keeping society safeViolent people should be behind bars so they cannot commit more crimesIf they are in the juvenile system, they are free once they become adults
19 Example: El PonchisMexican authorities recently arrested “El Ponchis,” a 14-year-old who is accused of beheading 4 people and pushing their bodies off a bridge.Why did he commit such a heinous crime?His father says he was told to do so by older members of a drug cartelUnder Mexican law, he would be tried in the juvenile system and would serve a maximum of only 3 years in juvenile detention
20 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults Young delinquents become worse criminals when they are exposed to adult prisonersResearch shows that youth punished in the adults are TWICE as likely to re-offendTherefore, punishing youth as adults does not reduce crime
21 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults Most juvenile facilities provide better education programs than adult prisonsIs this true?
22 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults Brain development: Scientists have generated new evidence about human brain developmentBrains do not fully mature until the age of about 25The parts of the brain that control anger and allow people to anticipate consequences are particularly slow to developTherefore, adolescents are not fully capable of controlling their impulses or actions
23 Arguments AGAINST punishing young offenders as adults Young people are not considered adults until they are 18 in all other aspectsVotingMilitaryTaking out loans