PHILOSOPHY OF JUVENILE COURT
I. Past view
A. Children = Chattel.
1. Parents had property interest in kids.
B. Society did not have a role in interfering in family life or providing education or healthcare.
1. Society owed no duty to children – if they could not learn a trade, be productive, and contribute, then they should rot in the streets
C. Children treated no different than adults under the criminal law.
II. Modern perspective
A. Parens Patriae
1. State = Surrogate parent to child.
a. State has responsibility for “fixing” “broken” children.
1) Juvenile courts established in recognition of need for special treatment of minors in interest of rehabilitation.
a) Only distinction in juvenile court is between misdemeanors and felonies, not grades of each, so judge can exercise his discretion on a case-by-case basis to impose either the minimum or the maximum sentence regardless of how severe the crime.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF MINORS IN DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS
I. Due Process Requirements
A. In Re Gault:
1. 14th Amendment due process rights apply to minors in delinquency proceedings because minor’s liberty is at stake.
a. Due Process Rights:
1) Notice of charges;
2) Right to counsel;
3) Right to confront (cross-examine) witnesses;
4) Right to transcript of proceeding;
5) Privilege against self-incrimination; AND
6) Right to appellate review.
2. “Fundamental Fairness” consideration:
a. Denying minors DP during adjudication (fact-finding process) when they are facing imprisonment is wrong.
B. In Re Winship:
1. Standard of proof required for delinquency finding = “Beyond a reasonable doubt.”
a. “Fundamental Fairness” consideration:
1) Minors at risk of having their liberty taken away MUST receive the highest standard of proof.
C. McKeiver v. Pennsylvania:
1. Constitutional right to jury trial does NOT apply to delinquency proceedings.
a. B/c being found delinquent is NOT a criminal conviction, as long as DP rights are preserved per Gault, fact finder does not have to be a jury – judge is sufficient.
SUBSTANTIVE DELINQUENCY (CRIMINAL CONDUCT OF MINOR)
A. Minor committed an act that would be a crime if the minor was an adult.
II. Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
A. Upper limits are minors aged 14-21, depending on jurisdiction, who commit criminal acts.
1. Ohio = 18 and under.
B. Most jurisdictions do not have lower limits.
1. In Re PM:
a. No minimum cut-off age below which a minor cannot be charged with a delinquent act.
1) Note: Subject to infancy/lack of requisite mens rea affirmative defenses.
C. Trends in punishments:
1. Graduated sanctions;
2. Specialized courts – juvenile drug & alcohol courts.
3. Community-based programs;
4. Peer court/neighborhood court
a. Rarely used.
5. Community service;
6. House arrest;
7. Court monitored release.
III. Exclusion from Jurisdiction of Juvenile Court
A. Adult certification
1. Definition = When a determination is made that minor will be tried as an adult in adult court.
a. Note: If minor adjudicated as delinquent in juvenile court, he CANNOT then be certified as an adult and therein transferred to adult court to be tried if he is later found to be not amenable to juvenile process.
i. Certification MUST take place pre-adjudication to avoid double jeopardy.
B. Approaches to Determining Adult Certification
1. Jurisdiction uses statute:
a. Illinois v. PH:
1) Because juvenile court is legislatively created a
If minor age 14+, defense unavailable – conclusive presumption of ability to form the requisite intent.
b) If minor age 7–14, burden of proof on minor to show that he lacks the requisite mens rea looking @ totality of circumstances – NO rebuttable presumption of infancy (majority rule).
c) Note: Mens rea capacity based upon physiological age NOT mental age.
d) If minor under age 7, conclusively presumed to lack the ability to form the requisite mens rea.
a. In Re HC:
1) If minor determined to be insane and thereby not capable of forming requisite mens rea, he may still be found to be delinquent, but penal sanctions cannot be given.
a) Insanity is NOT a defense to an adjudication of delinquency. It ONLY bars dispositions of incarceration in juvenile jail – minor found to be insane can only be sentenced to mental hospital.
i. Note: Although penal sanctions are prohibited, insane minor still gets full DP rights.
b. Note: The Constitution does not guarantee an insanity defense for adults, even though all states have one. Thus, Juveniles don’t have a constitutional right to present an insanity defense.
2. All defenses available to adults are also available to minors:
c. Defense of property;
1) Note: If minor defending parents’ property, look @ TOC to see if defense is appropriate.