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Juvenile Law
University of Toledo School of Law
Parish, Dennis M.

Juvenile Law Outline

Spring 2012

I. History

A. Juvenile Court

1. Children as actors:

· Delinquency – child that commits an act that is a crime for an adult to commit.

· Status Offense – child that commits an act that is not against the law for an adult (running away, truancy, etc.).

· Traffic – if a juvenile gets a traffic ticket, they go to juvenile court.

2. Children that are acted upon (victims):

· Dependency, neglect, and abuse.

· Paternity cases.

· Custody cases.

· When a juvenile is a victim, and it’s a misdemeanor case, the prosecutor can file the case in juvenile court.

o Usually a tougher sentence from juvenile courts than municipal courts.

3. Criminal intent

· Children can’t be charged with criminal intent if they are not over the age of 7.

· Between the ages of 7-14, the presumption is that there is no criminal intent, unless you can rebut it.

· If the child is over the age of 14, they can be charged with criminal intent.

4. Early history – tenets about society:

· (1) Poverty is a sin. It’s a sin to be poor.

· (2) A father’s rights are absolute.

· (3) Children are expected to be useful – they have to be productive.

· (4) Children are chattel – possessions of the father.

· (5) Children belong to their parents; parents have a property right in their children.

o This is basis for parental rights vs. best interest of the child.

· (6) Society has no duty to educate or to provide health care to children.

· (7) Criminal law treated children as little adults.

o In many cases, children faced far greater consequences for their actions under criminal law than adults did.

· (8) Major concern was how do we reduce the cost of society to raise the dependent, neglected, and abused children.

5. Reform Era – 19th Century

· House of Refuge movement.

o We don’t need prisons, we need schools. Going to develop schools, where children can live.

· Result of this movement was a separate juvenile system. First court was in Chicago in 1899. By 1925, every state but 2 had a juvenile justice system written into their constitution.

6. Ex Parte Crouse (pg. 6) – 1839 case out of PA. Mary Crouse’s mother asked that she be committed for her own good; after she is taken into the state’s custody, there is a petition by the child’s father for habeas corpus.

· Key principle of this case: establishes the concept of state as parens patriae – state as parent.

· Court held that parents right to control/care for child, but state may supersede for a compelling reason.

o Parent’s right to their child is NOT an absolute right.

7. People ex rel. O’Connell v. Turner (pg. 8) – Daniel O’Connell placed in a reform school in Chicago, but never criminally charged with anything. He was detained in this reform school against his father’s wishes.

· Court’s position is that child cannot be imprisoned for misfortune; misfortune being something less than a criminal act.

· Standard for state to take child away from a parent must be “gross misconduct” of the parent, not simply a lack or supervision or idle parenting. Have to show gross misconduct AND that child has committed criminal acts.

8. Myths in Juvenile Proceedings:

· (1) “It’s a school, not a prison.”

· (2) Juvenile proceedings are civil, not criminal.

o This is actually a TRUTH. Juveniles are not found guilty, they are found delinquent. Reason this is a myth is because to juvenile it feels like a criminal conviction.

· (3) “We treat children, we don’t punish them.”

II. Juvenile Delinquency: Child as Respondent

A. Status Offenses

1. Status offenses include truancy, curfew violations, runaways, cigarettes/alcohol, and ungovernable/incorrigible.

· Today, in most states, you can lock up a status offender overnight. In most states, you cannot lock up status offenders with delinquent children – they have to be separate and apart.

2. In Re Darlene C. (pg. 25) – Case regarding a runaway. Child ran away 14 times in 2.5 years. Court is treating her as if she is delinquent, because she’s in violation of a court order.

· You cannot lock up status offenders with delinquent children.

· Because she is in violation of the court order, she is a delinquent child; therefore, you can lock her up.

· To elevate her status, can you just do this on your own?

o The behavior has to be egregious.

o Did the court use the least restrictive means, and can you demonstrate that using those least restrictive means failed?

3. LAM v. State (pg. 27, note 3) – Set the standard for increasing status offenders to delinquents.

· Civil Contempt Factors:

o (1) A valid order must exist.

o (2) The juvenile knew of the order, and was given time to comply – this is going to mirror civil contempt.

o (3) The juvenile has to have the ability to comply. If they can’t comply with it, you can’t find them in contempt.

o (4) Juvenile has to willfully disobey the order.

o (5) The disobedience will result in incarceration.

4. In re Welfare of Snyder (pg. 28) – 1975 WA case. 16 year old with strict/controlling parents, who wanted emancipation.

· Juvenile court determined that she was incorrigible, and sends her to foster care. Issue here is whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the juvenile court’s determination that this is an incorrigible child.

· The standard of review for the reviewing court is abuse of discretion. Did judge abuse their discretion?

o Reviewing court here upheld the lower court – judge did not abuse his discretion.

5. Qutb v. Strauss (pg. 31) – upholds the constitutionality of the Dallas curfew law. Under the law, if you were under the age of 17, there was a weekday curfew from 11pm-6pm, and weekends from 12am-6am. Exceptions if you were traveling to work in a car, attending school, civic/religious activity, if you were in front of your own home or neighbors, and exception in case of emergency.

· This was a class action lawsuit alleging that curfew was unconstitutional. Standard of review is strict scrutiny.

o Compelling government interest?

o Is the rule narrowly tailored to achieve a specific result?

· Compelling interest here is protecting children, and reducing crime/opportunity for crime.

· Challenges to juvenile curfew laws usually focus on constitutionality of the statute/ordinance:

o (1) Violation of the First Amendment.

o (2) Due process – it’s not enforced equally.

o (3) Parental rights issue – they have a right to raise their children the way they want.

o (4) Equal protection.

5. In re E.B. (pg. 37) – 1980 case from North Dakota. Child with a truancy problem; labeled as a “habitual” truant. Missed a total of 18 days of school, 6.5 times were unexcused.

· Claim that this statute is unconstitutionally vague, because they use terms “habitually” and “without justification.” This is a 14th amendment argument.

· Court doesn’t buy this argument. These words are not overbroad; common sense dictates the language. It does not have to have “mathematical precision.”

6. Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention Act – passed in 1974.

· Government says “this is what you’re going to do,” and if the state doesn’t do it, they take away funding. Must comply with rules to get money.

· Will cut all funding to the state unless the state stops housing status offenders with delinquent children.

o In 1980, government amended this to allow comingling of status offenders with delinquents who violated a valid court order.

7. ABA objections to concept of status offense adjudications:

· (1) Unruly behavior is not quasi-delinquent behavior.

· (2) Status offenders are subjected to dispositions similar to misdemeanor offenders.

· (3) SO’s subjected to the stigma of court adjudication.

· (4) Most SO’s tried with less due process rights than delinquent kids.

· (5) In many states the SO statutes are usually vague, and rely heavily on judicial discretion.

B. Criminal Delinquency

1. Delinquency: when a child commits a criminal act.

· Felonies.

o Punishable by state incarceration/prison time.

o DYS: Dept. of Youth Services. State prison for teenagers.

· Misdemeanors.


· Does juvenile court have jurisdiction? Has to be a juvenile, and had to happen within physical boundaries of that court.

· Is there sufficient evidence to go forward?

· Final decision intake officer can make?

o Dismiss case.

o Divert – this is the bigger thing they do. Going to send child through a diversion program.

o Decide to charge them, and push the complaint through.

· Intake officers don’t always have the final decision – prosecutors trump the intake officers.

o Final decision rests ultimately with the prosecutor.

5. Standards for Detention:

· Are they a danger to the public?

· Are they a danger to themselves?

· Will they flee/not appear?

E. Search and Seizure

1. State v. Lowry (pg. 72) – police found kids in a car with marijuana, and the drugs were in plain view.

· Issue is whether 4th amendment protections apply to the juvenile.

· Court says that they do.

o Kids were not able to suppress the evidence, because even though the 4th amendment applied, the drugs were still in plain view.

F. Detention

1. Schall v. Martin (pg. 78) – case deals with preventative detention. Is this compatible with 14th amendment due process?

· Supreme Court says that you can detain a child prior to trial. Must have a hearing within the next business day of being locked up.

· Factors: likelihood that they’ll abscond, danger to self/community, prior record, lack of supervision.

G. Interrogation/Investigation

1. Haley v. Ohio (1948 case) – Deals with a confession. 15 year old interrogated for 12 hours straight overnight.

· Court does not let confession in; confession is NOT reliable.

2. Gallegos v. Colorado (1960’s case) – 14 year old held incommunicado for 5 days.

· Court suppressed the confession.

· The first time “totality of the circumstances” is used.

3. Fare v. Michael C. (pg. 93) – Taken in by police and interrogated. Charged with murder, but this is a robbery gone wrong. Explained Miranda rights to him. Asked for his PO, they said no, and juvenile then agreed to talk to police.

· Three things you’re going to look at:

o (1) Age.

o (2) Maturity.

o (3) Totality of the circumstances.

4. Factors to Consider in Miranda Request. USE ON FINAL EXAM.

· (1) Age of defendant.

· (2) Education of the defendant.

· (3) Their knowledge of their rights (experience in system).

· (4) Interrogation methods.

· (5) Ability to communicate with parents.

· (6) Was he interrogated before or AFTER formal charges.

· (7) Length of interrogation.

· (8) Has he refused or repudiated in the past?

5. State v. Quiroz (pg. 105) – Challenge diversion program as violation of their constitutional rights. Counsel was not provided; juvenile had to acknowledge their wrongdoing, in order to participate in the diversion program.

· Court’s decision is that diversion agreement is a K (not violation of constitutional rights), and you perform.

o Diversion program can be pre-charge or post-charge.

· Rules in Ohio:

o 29 F2C: give child six months, and after that if he’s done everything he’s supposed to, dismiss charge and wipe slate clean. This is most popular with prosecutors.

o 29 F2D: immediately wipe the slate clean.