Juvenile Justice
Categories in Juvenile Justice
• Delinquent children (Calif. W & I 602)
– Violate criminal law
• Undisciplined children (“Out of Control”)
– Beyond control of parents.
• Dependent children
– Have no guardians
• Neglected children
– Do not receive proper care (malnutrition)
• Abused children
– Suffered physical abuse (also includes emotional and sexual)
• Status offenders (Calif. W & I 601)
– Children that violate laws specifically written for children (truancy,
buying cigarettes)
Problems Today for Juveniles
• What are some of the problems juveniles face today?
• Drugs and Alcohol
– What is the most widely used drug among H.S. students?
– Marijuana
• Violence
• Gangs
– 50% of gang members are between 18-24
• Runaways
– Only about 20% have contact with police or social services
• Sexual Abuse
• Other
– Physical, emotional, neglect, medical neglect
• Kent v. U.S. (1966)
– Need for minimal due
• In re Gault (1967)
– Gave juveniles many of the
rights that adults have
– Notice of charges
– Right to counsel
– Right to confront and cross
– Protection from selfincrimination
• In re Winship (1970)
– Delinquency must be proved
“beyond a reasonable
• McKeiver v. Pennsylvania (1971)
– Maintained existing practice of
no trial by jury, but does not
prohibit it
• Breed v. Jones (1975)
– Restricted conditions for
transfers from juvenile to
adult courts
– Must be made before
• Schall v. Martin (1984)
– Upheld preventive detention
(non punitive)
– Must have
• Prior notice
• Detention hearing
• Statement from judge stating
• Illinois v. Montanez (1996)
– Let stand a ruling that made
voluntary confessions
inadmissible if made without
the presence of a “concerned
Juvenile Court Philosophy
• Emphasis on child’s best interest rather than
guilt or innocence
• Emphasis on “treatment” rather than
• Protection from public scrutiny (sealed records)
- Labeling Theory
• Use of social science (rather than need for
• No long term confinement
• Juvenile facilities
• Discretionary alternatives
The Four Stages of the J.J. System
• Intake
– Arrest or juvenile petition (complaint filed by teachers,
neighbors, etc)
– Probation Officer review
– Detention hearing, diversion, or dismissal
– Preliminary hearing can be held in conjunction with detention
hearing – probable cause
• Adjudication
– Focus on privacy, speed, informality, evidentiary standard,
philosophy of the court, no right to trial by jury
• Disposition
– Decision – confine or not confine
• Post adjudicatory review
– appeals
Class Discussions
What problems do
juveniles face today?
How do you feel about
parental accountability and
the possibility of parents
being subject to punishment
for the crimes of their
What should the
“disposition” be?
• Jerry Owen is a 17 year old HS drop out. He has
recently been convicted of two burglaries. His
criminal record includes three other crimes: two
shoplifting incidents and a theft.
• His parents are frustrated with his behavior and
admit to having trouble controlling him.
• Jerry’s two brothers are well behaved and have
no criminal record.
Anne Yeerns is 15 years old and was convicted
of attempted GTA. This was her first offense.
However, she is also a runaway. On two prior
occasions, she has run away from her father.
The first time, she went back home, after three
days; the second time, the police brought her
back, after one week; and this time, she claims
she was stealing the car to get as far away as
Anne’s father did not attend the dispositional
• Patrick Darvy is 12 years old and was recently
initiated in to a juvenile gang.
• He was caught selling drugs; it was his first
• Patrick lives with his mother, who is divorced.
Ms. Darvy is very concerned about recent
changes in his behavior and would like the
court’s help in changing his behavior.