The Juvenile Justice System
Juvenile justice is the section of law that applies to persons under the age of 18 not capable of receiving sentencing in the adult court system or old enough to be responsible for criminal acts committed in society. In most states the age of criminal culpability is 18 however, the age requirement can be set lower in accordance to certain crimes and statutes set by the state the juvenile lives in. Juvenile law is primarily run by state law and most states enforce a specific juvenile code the system follows. The juvenile justice system primarily focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment for youthful offenders.
Society appears to concentrate that children are more capable of change than adult offenders more capable of knowing right from wrong (“Cornell University Law School,” n.d.). The statutes creating the juvenile court systems and methods of allocating with juvenile delinquency are run by courts as a suitable extension of state police power to warrant the safety and welfare of children in the system.
The doctrine of parens patriae allows the state to promulgate for the safeguard, care, custody, and upkeep of children within its jurisdiction. In 1968 the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act was put into effect, and in 1972 it was put into revision as the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Act. This act set forth to assist states in dealing with juvenile delinquent acts and assist communities to prevent delinquency by providing services to the community and youths in high risk of subduing to criminal activity (“Cornell University Law School,” n.d.). The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act describes juvenile delinquency as an act that is a criminal but is set forth by a youth under 18 years of age. It applies rules that state laws must abide by with concern to juvenile court processes and reprimands (“Cornell University Law School,” n.d.). Comparison of Juvenile and Adult Courts
There are major differences in procedure between the juvenile and adult court systems. In the juvenile system the defendant does not receive a jury trial. The juvenile goes before a judge who decides if a law was broken and what the appropriate punishment is for the youthful offender. Bail that is also commonly used in the adult system is normally not given to minors in the juvenile system. For a juvenile to be free before adjudication, he or she must prove, they are not a flight risk or a further danger to society. Juvenile courtrooms, unlike adult courts are also not open to the public or media because of preserving the privacy of minors in the system (“Just Cause Law Collective,” 2007).
Oddly, punishments for juveniles for smaller offenses are sometimes more strict than an adult would face. Probation sentences can be much longer and have many additional terms, such as keeping up grades in school, obeying his or her parents, and abiding by a curfew. Juveniles facing punishment for more serious offenses however do stand a better chance of early release where most adult offenders could face up to life in prison for the same crime. This happens as a result of most juvenile sentences ending once the youth reaches his or her twenties (“Just Cause Law Collective,” 2007). Constitutional Safeguards
Criminal juvenile proceedings are kept private when the criminal is juvenile. Juvenile records are also sealed when the juvenile becomes an adult. Names are on ice from newspapers and news reporters unlike in adult criminal cases. Court cases for juveniles are secure to the public with only people pertinent to the case being allowed into the courtroom to protect the identity of the juvenile. Safeguards for juveniles differ from those of adults because juvenile proceedings are kept private whereas those for adults are open to the public.
The identity of an adult is public record and their crimes do not get sealed away after a certain amount of time. While juveniles seem to be safe more than adults there are safeguards in place to protect adults as well, such as double jeopardy, which means a person cannot be in accusation for the same crime twice. If adult and juvenile case procedures were the same many juveniles would have criminal records going into adulthood for minor offenses or even just mistakes in judgment that could affect his or her future. Adults have a better understanding of the laws and what is right and wrong in addition the consequences of their choices than juveniles do. A juvenile waiver is occurs when a judge transfers a juvenile into the adult court system.
This method releases the juvenile from any protection the youth would have under the juvenile court system. At this point the child is put through the same court process an adult offender would face. In most states the average age a youth would be set forth into the adult system is 17; however in some cases children as young as 13 have faced adult trials. Normally a waiver into the adult courts is put into effect because of a long history of offenses by the juvenile or if the crime is well thought-out to be serious or severely heinous.
In 1997 28 states had already put into exclusion the offense of murder from the juvenile system. This meaning that a youth would be sent directly into the adult system if he or she was facing such a charge. This number is most likely going to increase that has put more emphasis on the debate of juveniles sent into the adult system. According to “Findlaw” (2012), “Some states also have a legal provision which allows the prosecutor to file a juvenile case in both juvenile and adult court.
This takes place when the offense and the age of the youth meet certain criteria. Prosecutorial transfer does not have to meet the due process requirement. Approximately 15 states currently have this provision” (Juvenile “Waiver” (Transfer to Adult Court)). The most land marking case guiding juvenile waivers is Breed vs. Jones that took place in 1975. This case set forth the rule that a youth cannot be adjudicated in the juvenile system and waived into the adult system. This protects the youth under the double jeopardy law. Realistically this case appears not to have much impact on the juvenile system because juveniles can go through a waiver hearing similar to a trial except for the outcomes (“Findlaw,” 2012). Remanding Juveniles to Adult Courts
Over the last several decades remanding a youth into the adult court system has grown in popularity. The public and courts have made it very easy to take a child out of the juvenile system and place him or her into the hands of the adult courts. Most members of society see these measures as a form of fear because of the increase in violent crimes that today’s youth are participating in.
State legislatures enacted statutes that extended the age and offense reach of judicial waiver, legislative waiver, automatic transfer, and prosecutorial discretion and concurrent jurisdiction policies that in return has paved the road of sending children into the adult system very smooth. Some states have provisions in which a child can be sent to adult courts regardless of the offense (“Campaign for Youth Justice,” 2010). Studies prove that more than 200,000 youths under the age of 18 face sentencing in adult courts. Despite that there has been a decrease in juvenile crime over the past few years; provisions making it easier to prosecute juveniles in the adult court system keep increasing. In today’s current time it appears the scale-weighs in favor of punishing children instead of rehabilitating them into productive members of society (“Campaign for Youth Justice,” 2010). The Miranda Warning
The Miranda Warning is a police notice set to criminal defendants brought into custody of law enforcement in the United States before they can ask questions in regard to what took place during the crime they are facing charges with. Law enforcement officials can only ask for precise information such as name, date of birth, and address without reading the suspects his or her Miranda warnings.
Confessions and other information that an individual provides him or her will not be well thought-out admissible evidence unless the individual is aware of and give up his or her Miranda rights. Threatening or forcible methods of police interrogation were once generally referred to as undergoing the third degree. Today, as defense against any likelihood of police intimidation, society has the Miranda Warning (“Mirandawarning.org,” 2010). In 1968 the final version for the Miranda Warning was set by California deputy attorney general Doris Maier and district attorney Harold Berliner.
Before the establishment of the Miranda Warning, confessions had only to be intentional on the suspect. This made a difficult situation for law enforcement, who often met with evidence at trials that the defendant was not of sound mind or were under indirect pressure when he or she gave his or her confessions. The Miranda Warning protects society’s rights by clarifying his or her choices clearly and supports police power when law enforcement properly reads the Miranda Warning and gets clear, intellectual answers that the suspect understands his or her rights as they have been clear up. The Miranda Warning is a legal requirement all over the United States, and differs only slightly in wording in different states (“Mirandawarning.org,” 2010).
Campaign for Youth Justice. (2010). Retrieved from
Cornell University Law School. (n.d.). Retrieved from
FindLaw. (2012). Retrieved from
Jones, W. G. (2006). U.S. Departemnt of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from
Just Cause Law Collective. (2007). Retrieved from
MirandaWarning.org. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.mirandawarning.org/