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Juvenile Court Process - Essay Example

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In Re Gault showed the unfairness of the juvenile justice system, when a six-year sentence for an act that could be punished with a two-month imprisonment or a $50 fine, if done by an adult, was imposed on a fifteen-year-old Gerald Gault in 1967. Almost 50 years after this case,…
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Juvenile Court Process
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Juvenile Court Process

Download file to see previous pages... on of due process rights for accused juveniles; however, it is taking a step backwards through harsh punishment for some juvenile delinquents and lack of further execution on systemic reforms.
Gault promoted due process rights for accused juveniles that reinforced the role of the state and the courts as parens patriae. The Supreme Court stressed the importance of the “constitutional domestication of the juvenile court” by requiring all states to provide particular procedural rights to juveniles and their families, which is aligned with their constitutional rights (Ross 426). Gault resulted to these guarantees to children: “right to counsel, the right to be given notice of charges, the right to remain silent, and the right to confront witnesses” (Ross 426). Gault formalized due process rights for juveniles, in order for them to not be treated as or more harshly than adults during the hearing process. In addition, Gault also steps forward towards rehabilitation because it essentially reinforces the mindset that the court must balance between its two roles: preserving justice when unlawful acts are done and serving as the traditional guardian to the wayward youth (Mikhail 101). Gault models the role of the state and the courts as parens patriae to their youth (Siegel).
Despite promoting the interests of children towards rehabilitation through due process rights, Gault takes a step backwards due to the existence of harsh punishment for some juvenile delinquents. David Mikhail describes the Texas juvenile justice system and noted that it is not rehabilitating but severely punishing juvenile delinquents, by employing transfers to adult criminal courts. Texas also practices determinate sentencing, wherein “youth capital offenders can be prosecuted in juvenile court with a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison” (Mikhail 101). Youth capital offenders, even those as young as 16 years old, can serve most or all of their sentences in adult prison facilities, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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