Juvenile Justice System Essay
- Length: 8 pages
- Sources: 5
- Subject: Business - Law
- Type: Essay
- Paper: #16368465
Excerpt from Essay :
Juvenile Justice System. Please shed light 1) Juveniles adult Juvenile Courts & 2) a revolving door juveniles. Please explain Juvenile justice system. APA format work cited page. Use book class, Juvenile Justice, An Introduction, 8th edition John T.
The present research focuses on the way in which the juvenile court system impacts children below the age of maturity, which according to the judicial system is 18 years of age that are being tried as adults rather than as juveniles. There are several perspectives to take into account in discussing the issue. In this sense, the research reviews the general notions about the juvenile judicial system, what its authority is and purpose as well as its raison d'etre. Secondly, there is a wide belief that children trialed as adults is not necessarily a good practice to follow or encourage particularly due to the fact that this does not allow for a rehabilitation of the child and falls more on the path of punishment. Most often, studies have pointed out, this approach opens the way to a recidivating pattern which impacts negatively the future of the child. The research further elaborates on this. Finally, it is important to take into account the measures that have been taken especially by nonprofit organizations militating against children being trialed as adults by the judicial system.
The juvenile court system is based on the premise that children, up to different stages of their development, are either not subject to criminal trial or are considered juveniles and should face different sanctions for offenses committed. More precisely, "Juvenile Court is a special court or division of a trial court which deals with under-age defendants who violate any federal, state or municipal law, and any child who is abused, neglected or dependent. Juveniles over which it has jurisdiction are generally under the age of 18, but juvenile court does not have jurisdiction in cases in which minors are charged as adults" (U.S. Legal, 2014). There are several issues to be taken into account as part of this definition. Firstly, it must be pointed out that this section of the judicial system deals only with under-age defendants. This is particularly because the legal age under U.S. law which limits trial as an adult is standard to 18 years. Secondly however, in cases of criminal acts, the juvenile court can relinquish its authority and advise the trial of an defendant as an adult (Legal Information Institute, 2014). This aspect causes numerous problems throughout the country and in the case logs of the courts.
Another aspect that needs to be pointed out is the fact that there is no standard approach across the states in the U.S. In terms of the case logs of the juvenile courts. This is to say that juvenile courts are under the jurisdiction of the state However, in order to ensure that a minimum type of unity is provided across states, a juvenile code is enacted at the level of each state. Even so, there is a certain authority that the federal legislature has over the juvenile court system. More precisely, "The federal role in the field has largely been that of funder and standard setter (…) The doctrine of parens patriae authorizes the state to legislate for the protection, care, custody, and maintenance of children within its jurisdiction" legislature (Legal Information Institute, 2014).
The main federal act that governs the existence of the juvenile court system is the 1972 "Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Act" which sets the standards for what juvenile delinquency is and how state laws must be aligned to federal concepts on juvenile delinquency and its repercussions. In the preamble of the act of 1972 as well as in the next re-enactments, it is considered that the levels of juvenile delinquency have fluctuated in different times in recent decades, but most importantly, that it is crucial that juveniles are not accused and trialed as adults without strong motivated decision.
Unlike criminal courts where the American judicial system bases its ruling on a jury and a full argued trial, in juvenile courts, the matters and procedures are relatively different. In most cases, cases are argued before a judge who eventually sets the ruling. This approach is seen as being useful particularly because of the nature of the court itself. As mentioned above, the rational of the juvenile court system is not necessarily one that would dictate a punishment for a juvenile, but rather one that would acknowledge the underage nature of the defendant and propose rehabilitation measures while re-integrating the juvenile back in the society. This approach dates back to the early beginnings of differentiating between juveniles and adults. In this sense, back in the 18th century, such distinctions were made according to psychological factors. More precisely, "Children under the age of seven were as a rule classified as infants who could not be guilty of a felony (a felony is a serious crime such as burglary, kidnapping, or murder). Children over the age of 14 were liable to suffer as adults if found guilty of a crime" (American Bar, n.d). Nowadays, these notions have changed and infants under the age of 7 are not put on trial, regardless of crime whereas parents are held responsible. This is due to the fact that according to the law, parents are responsible for the acts of their under-age children. After the age of 14, children can be placed on trial, yet the judicial system has established the juvenile courts in this respect.
In terms of the procedures that are being followed in juvenile courts, these include a deep contact between the judge and the legal guardian / parent of the defendant. This approach is due in part to the fact that the juvenile is not fully liable in front of the law and in part because of the purpose of the juvenile court ruling, which is that of rehabilitation. In this sense, "The procedure in juvenile court is not always adversarial (although the minor is entitled to legal representation by a lawyer). It can be an attempt to involve parents or social workers and probation officers in the process to achieve positive results and save the minor from involvement in future crimes" (Law.com, 2014). This practice comes to point out that the most important goal of a juvenile court is that of re-education of the defendant.
Despite the fact that in theory, the juvenile court has the best interest of the defendant in play, the court can, at its discretion yet motivating its decision thoroughly, defer the case of a juvenile to a regular court and trial the defendant as an adult. These cases include however a serious crime being committed or previous conviction in a juvenile court. According to statistics provided by the Department of Justice, "One-fifth of juveniles 16 years of age who had been arrested were first arrested before attaining 12 years of age. Juveniles who are known to the juvenile justice system before attaining 13 years of age are responsible for a disproportionate share of serious crimes and violence." (Government Printing Office, 2014) This assessment comes to point out that a large number of juveniles that are trialed as children, often come back again in front of the court system and if the acts they are accused become recurrent, courts may decide to give the case to a criminal adult court to sentence.
The main issue related to trialing and sentencing in an adult court is the punishment that can be provided. Unlike juvenile courts, in circuit courts, prison is taken into account and is a rather common punishment for criminal acts. In juvenile courts, this is not the case as sentencing is done with the aim of rehabilitation of the defendant inside the society. As per the U.S. Federal Court, there is no intention of depriving children of the possibility of a future as, calculations made, would eventually cost the state. More precisely, "According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, allowing 1 youth to leave school for a life of crime and of drug abuse costs society $1,700,000 to $2,300,000 annually.' (Government Printing Office, 2014) Therefore, it can be said that trialing juveniles as adults would not be a practice to follow, even if from a financial perspective, as this would imply a lack of consideration for the rehabilitation of the defendant and, as statistics point out, a high chance of re-engaging in criminal activities.
Although there would be no rational for trialing juveniles as adults, except for serious and recurring crimes, this is indeed a practice that has been used. There are numerous cases in which juveniles were eventually tried as adults. However, in most cases these include murders and serious crimes being committed. An extreme situation is provided by several states in the U.S. In which the death penalty is being applied to juveniles and executions are conducted. One such state is Texas, in which the death penalty for juveniles is not out of the ordinary…