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Juvenile Law
University of Connecticut School of Law
Webster, Athur

I.                  INTRODUCTION
 
A.    Factors that Influence Juvenile Legal Matters
1.      Poverty
2.      Violence (i.e., within the family, domestic, neighboring community)
3.      Mental Illness
4.      Substance Abuse
B.     Juvenile and Family Court System
1.      Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
a.      (ü)Abuse and Neglect
                                                                                            i.      Civil= Juvenile Court
                                                                                         ii.      Criminal= Criminal Court
v      Jurisdiction= right to decide termination-parental-rights petitioned filed by the state seeking to permanently sever the parent-child relationship b/c of gross abuse or gross neglect
b.      (ü)Adoption:
                                                                                            i.      terminates the parent-child relation btwn the child and the natural parents
                                                                                         ii.      creates a new parent-child relationship btwn the child and the adoptive parents 
c.       (ü)Status Offenses
                                                                                            i.      Misconduct sanctionable only where the person committing it is a juveniles
                                                                                         ii.      Examples= truancy, running away from home, and ungovernability (the juvenile habitually resists reasonable discipline from his or her parent and is beyond their control)
d.      (ü)Delinquency
                                                                                            i.      Alleges that the juv has committed an act that would be a felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult
2.      Unified Family Court Systems
3.      Problem-Solving Courts
 
C.     The Nature and Sources of Children’s Status, Rights and Obligations
1.      Sources
a.      The Parens Patriae Doctrine:Confers state authority to protect or promote a particular child’s welfare
b.      Police Power:State’s inherent plenary authority to promote the public, health, safety and welfare generally 
2.      Nature
a.      Constitution
                                                                                            i.      Child’s say is still unknown b/c where there are court decisions that address, there is no protection for the child’s voice embedeed in the constitution
b.      UN:
                                                                                            i.      under umbrella of human rights
                                                                                         ii.      recognize independent rights of children
c.       The Child’s Duty to Obey:
                                                                                            i.      Meyer
                                                                                         ii.      Pierce
 
II.                THE CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS:
Status, Rights & Obligations of Children
 
A.    Constitutional Framework for Deciding Issue
1.      Ways to Defend a client:
a.      Disprove Facts: My client didn’t do this!
b.      Attack the Law on which the Arrest was Made: This is what they did in Meyer **
                                                                                            i.      Attack on its Face: Argue that the law is unconstitutional on its face b/c its very words itself are in conflict with constitutional provisions
                                                                                         ii.      Attack on its Facts: Unconstitutional as its applied to this set of pa

interest in these groups   è all dependent people
c.       State’s Obligation
                                                                                                                                                  i.      If interest of child are not being met, state has a moral obligation to step in
                                                                                                                                                ii.      If parent is not fit to meet child’s needsè state steps in
 
B.     The Laws Evolving Conception of Child’s Status, Rights and Obligations
1.      The Traditional Roles of Parents and the Government
a.      Presumption of Parental Fitness:
                                                                                            i.      Presumption that parents are fit/capable/sufficient to protect children’s interestunderscores parents right to decide about kids and be left alone
                                                                                         ii.      Parents are empowered to make decisions about how their child is raised without anyone from outside trying to break through wall and trying to control the integrity/privacy of the family
 
b.      Parents have a fundamental due process liberty interest in directing their children’s upbringing
 
c.       Confrontation of Rights Between Parents and State
 
                                                                                            i.      Who Gets to Decide?