Juvenile Justice Court Cases And How They Helped To Develop The System Grantham University Cj203 Essay

1063 words - 5 pages

The Juvenile Justice system has evolved in many ways throughout the century. Often these changes are made from actual court cases that caused the justice system to rethink or reconsider a law from previously. This is especially the case in the juvenile department. There are three court cases that will be used to demonstrate how they helped to evolve the juvenile justice system. I will be using the in re Gault, McKeiver v Pennsylvania, and the Roper c Simmons cases to demonstrate how they helped to shape the system as we know it today.
In the case of in re Gault of 1967, a 14-year-old boy was given seven years for making a lewd/prank call (Adler,2007). I am the father of a 14-year-old boy and this punishment seems ridiculous. Teenage boys especially, seem to play a lot of games and joke around with silly pranks, dares, and jokes. This type of punishment was too harsh. This punishment does not fit the crime and back then many others believed so as well and therefore it was changed. This case questions whether a juvenile could be given the same due process of rights as an adult (Adler, 2007). Under the same circumstance an adult normally would have only been given about sixty days maximum of a sentence. During this case, the 14-year-old boy did not have a lawyer for at least a week, his parents were not with him at any time he was held for at least a week, and the police did not tell him why he had been charged at first (Adler, 2007). Unfortunately, for this young teenager the process was not explained properly like it would have been for an adult. This case changed the law. The new stated that the juvenile has the right to a lawyer, the right to witness and cross examine, and that written notice of charges had to be given (Adler, 007). Now when a juvenile is taken into custody for a crime they have the same due process rights as an adult would have.
In this next court case, the right to a jury for a juvenile helped to shape the juvenile justice system. In the case of McKeiver v Pennsylvania of 1971 two teenagers, (15 and 16 years old), were being tried for robbery, theft, assault and escape (Mckeiver v Pennsylvania, n.d). They requested a jury trial and were told they had no constitutional right as a juvenile to a jury trial by due process (Mckeiver v Pennsylvania, n.d). This called into question the 6th and the 14th amendment clause (Mckeiver v Pennsylvania, n.d). The outcome of this case was basically, no. A juvenile doesn’t have the right to a jury, they can request it but it’s up to the judge to give them one or not (Mckeiver v Pennsylvania, n.d). This was an important case for juvenile justice system because it basically says that one person (the judge), could make the final decision on cases when it comes to a juvenile. Unfortunately, I think this should be changed as well. A statement was made by the court during this case that said, “one cannot say that in our legal system the jury is...

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