I. Juvenile Courts
1. Children as Actors
a. Delinquency – committing an act that would be criminal for an adult
b. Status offender/unruly – violates a law that would not be a criminal act for an adult
i. truancy (biggest area)
ii. ungovernable (kids who won’t obey their parents)
iv. curfew violation
v. (in some states the use of tobacco products)
vi. You could keep them in for 3-5 days 20 years ago. Now you can only keep them in for 1 night.
vii. Technically not supposed to lock these up w/delinquents.
2. Children as Acted Upon
a. Dependency – child doesn’t have someone to care for him
i. The vast majority are not seen — someone ends up taking care of him.
b. Neglect – there is someone to take care of the child but they elect not to; they don’t do their duty.
i. It could be intentional or it could just be the way they are.
c. Abuse – actual, intentional harm to the child – physical, emotional, mental
d. Paternity – children born out of wedlock, their paternity will be established in juvenile ct.
e. Custody – domestic relations only takes care of custody for children of married couples; everything else is in juvenile court (although domestic can if they want and the parties agree)
f. Adults – when they commit misdemeanor crimes against children
ii. Interference w/custody
iii. Misdemeanor sexual offenses (like sexual imposition)
iv. If an adult assaults a child, the juvenile court has jurisdiction although normally go to muni ct. You might choose juve if you have a tough judge there or if the muni judge isn’t.
B. Early History
a. Poverty is a sin
b. A father’s rights are absolute
c. Children are expected to be useful
d. Children are chattel
e. Parents have a property interest in their children
i. Today the question is if the state is a parental right or best interest
f. No duty to do anything for your children — wasn’t society’s duty
g. Children were treated as little adults – no provisions for children
i. In many cases, children faced harsher punishments than adults
ii. Any dependents would be put in the workhouse, apprenticeships, vendu method (auction)
2. Reform Era – a form of social engineering
3. House of Refuge movement – build schools, not prisons; treatment, not punishment: this is still the basis for all juvenile law today
a. Ex parte Crouse
i. Mary’s mother asked that she be committed for her own good b/c she was unruly.
ii. Her mother couldn’t control her.
iii. Establishes the principle parens patriae: the state as substituting for the parent. There is a natural right for parents to control their children, but it is not inalienable and the state can supercede that right if there is a compelling reason.
b. People ex rel. O’Connell v. Turner
i. 30 years later
ii. 14 ½ yr old
iii. the Δ is super of the reform school and father wants custody of the child back
iv. child was put in for begging on the streets — never charged w/anything
v. What’s key here is that he was detained against his father’s wishes
vi. Ct has to decide where does interference interfere w/a person’s liberty
vii. This kid had been imprisoned just b/c his family is misfortunate
viii.The ct also said that this is a prison, not a school
4. Three great myths of juve proceedings:
a. It’s a school, not a prison. Not ture.
b. Juve proceedings are civil not criminal. That’s a true statement, but you are still locking them up. You are going to look for a criminal lawyer.
c. We treat in juve, not punish. – unfortunately we seem to use it to id the ones that will be adults.
i. Adults – punish, protect
ii. Juve – rehab, reform
5. After refuge movement, development of separate system for juves. 1899 in Chicago.
6. 26 yrs later, 46 out of 48 had separate systems for juves.
C. In re Darlene C.
1. 1982 in SC
2. Habitual status offender – runaway
3. Based on runaway from her facility, her status updated to delinquent — she was ordered not to runaway so found in contempt (civil – must be given opportunity to correct the behavior, criminal – locked up right away)
4. Sentence to detention center (dept of youth services in OH) not to exceed age 21 — indefinite sentence b/c the goal is to rehab and don’t know how long that will take.
5. If the ct doesn’t find her delinquent, how is the ct going to punish her? They actually create a third status — a special category for someone who is in contempt.
a. In most states they are going to either have this third category or they are going to elevate you to delinquent.
D. Notes: L.A.M v. State 1976 Alaska – 5 guidelines before upgrade to delinquent and locked up that are used everywhere:
1. valid ct order not to do something (the same thing as notice),
2. the juve knew of the order and was given time to comply,
3. the juve had the ability to comply
a. in jail
4. the juve willfully disobeyed the order
a. under dr’s care, parent’s don’t get him there
5. juve understands disobedience will result in incarceration
E. (When you find somebody in contempt, you only have the suspended time to use during the probation. Once you use that up, you are left w/nothing.)
F. In re Welfare of Snyder
1. 16 yr old difficulty w/parents
2. Parents claim she is incorrigible
3. Child wants to be labeled dependant and put into foster care
4. The parents have lost control of their daughter to the system
5. Temporary custody to state, guardian ad litem
6. She had to go back to parents.
7. YSC petitioned. She was found incorrigible.
8. Key thing: substantial evidence to support juve ct’s determination that child is incorrigible
9. Ct of appeals is looking for abuse of discretion by juve ct. A very tough standard to meet. Can a reasonable person come to this conclusion based on the evidence in the record?
G. Qutb v. Strauss
2. Curfew system for juves in Dallas
a. Exceptions for being w/parent/guardian, work, etc.
3. Officer has option to cite or arrest.
4. Parents also subject to fine.
5. Owner of busi that allows this to happen could also be cited.
6. Challenge: violation of const rights; class action
7. Strict scrutiny
a. So looking for compelling state interest that is narrowly tailored to achieve its goal.
8. Purposes: protect juves (but of course it is also to stop crime)
9. How do you challenge a curfew law?
a. 1st amendment – free speech/association
b. equal protection
c. due process
d. parental rights (also an equal protection argument)
10. This is the right of the juve vs. the city’s interest.
11. The ct goes w/the city’s interest.
12. [Curfew laws are problematic. The way they are usually written generally makes a child delinquent (the def of which is that they have committed an
thing you want to know is what is going to happen to your child/client; in juve, there is a whole range of options — in an adult crim case, you negotiate the charge and then you plead to it to find the sentence; in juve, you find out what will be done and then you match it up to the charge — what would you rather the kid be labeled?)
R. Street Gangs
1. IL v. P.H.
b. Leg created statute that required certain gang offenses to be tried automatically as an adult.
2. In re Alberto R.
a. 1991 Cal
b. Drive by shooting w/2 gangs
c. Consp to commit murder, attempted murder, assault w/firearm
d. Consp charge booted out; other 2 stand
e. 17 yrs sentence
i. Additional 3 yrs for being a gang member (9 for one, 5 for another) – it’s an aggravating circumstance (weapon is used or serious bodily harm – life threatening)
ii. Blended sentence — part in juve, part in adult system (concept began in state of FL – most states have this now; used to be once a kid turned 21, no matter what, he walked free)
f. He claims this violates his due process rights – freedom to associate: ct doesn’t buy.
i. This is not vague or overbroad.
3. People ex rel. Gallo v. Acuna
a. 1997 Cal
b. Gang that comes into 4 block area where they hang out
c. Ex parte restraining order (one sided)
i. Basically zoning laws
ii. Of course, the danger in this is that it will be civil contempt — they will have to be given the opportunity to clean up their act
d. “Freedom of association, in the sense protected by the First Amendment, ‘does not extend to joining w/others for the purpose of depriving third parties of their lawful rights.’”
e. This is good law in all 50 states.
II. Delinquency Intake Process
A. Intake = arrest
B. Detain = jailed
C. Adjudication = trial
D. Most states have adopted some if not all of the ABA model codes
E. A complaint starts the process. The compliant is signed by a person w/personal knowledge — either a police officer, prosecutor, or victim.
F. Personal knowledge can come from an interview which is how the prosecutor can get personal knowledge.
G. Almost all cts today have an intake officer (developed w/in the last 25 yrs)
1. Usually a ct employee
2. Usually former probation officers
3. Sometimes retired police officers
4. Cts in bigger cities might use former magistrates or judges
5. Like triage
6. They interview the complainant and read the reports.
7. They will interview the victim (who isn’t always the complainant)
8. They will interview the Δ and the Δ’s parent/guardian.
9. Check for priors — arrests, how often kid has been detained, how often he has been found delinq
10. Look to see if kid has ever been on probation and those reports.