Juvenile and Adult Courts The juvenile justice system shares many of the same components of the adult justice system. Historically both adults and juveniles were tried in the same courts and if convicted they both served out their sentences in the very same facilities. Over time, the system changed for youths however; there remain as many similarities as there are differences between the two justice systems.
In this text, one will look at an overview of the juvenile justice system as well as a point-by-point comparison between the adult and juvenile systems. One will also discuss the implications for juvenile offenders and the trends in increasing use of waivers or remanding youths to adult courts to be processed. Finally, one will look at the repercussion of doing away with juvenile courts. Overview The juvenile justice system did not begin to take form until the first of the 20th century.
Up until that time youths were tried in the very same courts as adults and if convicted, they were held in the same detention facilities. It was finally determined that a separate justice system with their own courts and holding institutions for juveniles would better serve delinquent youths. The primary function of the juvenile justice system is not conviction but adjudication. It places an importance on developing an evocative course that would permit youths that disobey the law the ability to achieve noteworthy rehabilitation.
Answering for a criminal act takes second place in the juvenile justice system. First is to provide resources and services that allow rehabilitation along with proper amalgamation of juvenile delinquents and society. The features of the juvenile justice system are separate courts and internment facilities. A minor charged with illegal conduct will be identified as an adjudicated juvenile offender and will not be considered as guilty. This is based on the belief that a juvenile lacks the mental capacity needed to be found guilty of a crime in the equivalent comportment as an adult.
For confinement the juvenile justice system believes that the less restrictive the better and tends to focus on placing adjudicated juveniles on probation whenever possible. The proceedings of the juvenile justice system are similar to those in an adult trial such as witness testimony and evidence presentation however; at the close of the trial, the youth is not convicted. By theory, it is believed that youths that perform illegal acts stand a better chance to be rehabilitated than adults do. Point by point comparison between juvenile and adult courts
The juvenile court system focuses more on rehabilitation of the juveniles. The punishments seem to set examples that show leniency toward the juveniles. Some argue that this type of punishment does not set good standards in persuading the juveniles not to commit crimes. The adult court system focuses more on placing criminal sanctions to match the offense in hopes that it will deter further crimes from occurring and it will be a successful form of punishment. This is not always the case according to the statistics of repeat offenders and some punishments do not match the crime.
However, others argue that it is better to be strict when issuing punishments than to give a little slap on the hand to both, the juvenile and adults. The juvenile justice system focuses more on assessing the juvenile’s history, the juvenile goes before a judge to decide his or her fate for the crime he or she is facing accusations of, and with adults more attention is on legal facts and evidence. There are limits on public access to juvenile records to protect their privacy because the system thinks it has a chance of rehabilitating them. On the other hand, there is open public access to criminal records for adults.
The terminology is even different for adults in comparison to juveniles. For example, the adult court system uses terms such as bail hearing but the juvenile system uses detention hearing, adults use the term trial but the juvenile system uses fact-finding hearing, and the adults use term complaint or indictment in which the juvenile system uses petition. The adults are also known as defendants, but the juveniles are usually known by the term respondents. The adults have verdicts in determining their guilt or innocence, but juveniles have adjudications.
Likewise, the adults are found guilty, but the juveniles are found to be delinquent or involved. Increasing the use of waivers or remanding juveniles to adult court for processing There are several types of reasons a juvenile would be remanded or receive a waiver to the burdens of the adult courts. The three main reasons for remand are judicial waiver, statutory exclusion, and direct file exist. Much of the burden has been placed on the adult courts since 1992 instead of allowing the juvenile courts to rehabilitate the juveniles.
Judicial waivers are used the most because it allows a hand of from the juvenile court system by the judge over to the federal or state adult court. It depends on the actions of the juvenile and what offense he committed. The only way that the youth can be handed off to the adult courts is after a hearing has been conducted and the evidence analyzed. The main concern that the judge has to consider is the threat the youth has on the rest of the community. Additionally the state or federal legislative body oversees the use of a judicial waiver.
Because of the use of the judicial wavier many of the cases at times is based on the presumption of innocence and not on a factual basis. The use of statutory exclusion is based on excluding certain cases from being heard under the juvenile court system such as first-degree murder. What statutory exclusion means is that the juvenile who committed the crime will from the beginning be treated as an adult offender and be heard in the adult court rather than being heard in a juvenile court proceeding first. Direct file, on the other hand, puts the power of whether to prosecute the juvenile in adult court or juvenile court.
The prosecutor will look at the evidence to consider if the case is strong enough to be taken to adult court, also the history of the offender (Mathewson, 2010). “47 States and the District of Columbia provide judicial discretion to waive certain juveniles to criminal court. Thirty-seven States and the District of Columbia have one or more statutory exclusion provisions, and 10 States and the District of Columbia have direct file provisions”(Mathewson, 2010). The societal implications of abolishing juvenile court There are many societal implications on abolishing juvenile courts.
Many people view juvenile courts as being too lenient on the juveniles. Then there are the views that if juveniles were placed in the same facility as adults the outcome would be worse for the juveniles. On the other hand, when looking at the juvenile court system juveniles are not granted certain aspects as adults would, such as a jury trial. Much has changed in juvenile court procedures and practice in the 30 years since the Supreme Court observed that the young offender receives “the worst of both worlds: he gets neither the protections accorded to adults nor the solicitous care and egenerative treatment postulated for children (Ainsworth, J. )”. Ainsworth further states, “Juveniles accused of crime still do not receive the same caliber of procedural justice as do adult defendants. Some juvenile court scholars are skeptical about if a separate juvenile court system can ever achieve procedural justice equivalent to that of the adult court system (Ainsworth, J). Because of this intractability of the juvenile court to meaningful reform, Feld and, others advocate the abolition of juvenile court delinquency jurisdiction and replacement by a unified criminal court system for all age defendants (Ainsworth, J).
The benefit with developing a unified court system is that juveniles would not be judged on previous criminal activities but on the criminal act presented at the time. The one downfall to making a unified court system is society would see that there is no hope for juveniles. In the 20th Century there was no such thing as adult courts and juvenile courts, these cases where heard in one court system. Not until much later did, the courts recognize that there should be separate courts for adults and juveniles.
The juvenile court system focuses more on rehabilitation of the juveniles. The adult court system focuses more on placing criminal sanctions to match the offense in hopes that it will deter further crimes from occurring, and it will be a successful form of punishment. Although there are separate court systems for adults and juveniles, there are certain exceptions that can land a juvenile into an adult courtroom. Serious crimes such as murder committed by juvenile may land them into an adult courtroom.
Many views concerning the juvenile courts saying that they it should be abolished due to juveniles getting lenient sentences for serious crimes and those juveniles are not afforded the same opportunities such as a jury trial. References Adapted from Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “Juvenile Justice: A Century of Change. ” Washington DC: Office of Juvenile Justice, 1999. Ainsworth, J. The Court’s Effectiveness in Protecting the Rights of Juveniles in Delinquency Cases. Retrieved from http://www. princeton. du/futureofchildren/publications/docs/06_03_04. pdf Champion, D. (2007). The juvenile justice system: delinquency, processing, and the law. (5th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Mathewson, J. (2010, June 1). Juvenile and adult courts. Retrieved from http://voices. yahoo. com/juvenile-adult-courts-6135514. html? cat=4 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2011). Retrieved on December 3, 2011 from http://www. ojjdp. gov/ojstatbb/court/overview. html Tobias, J, and Martin, Michel. Juvenile vs. Adult Justice. AIRDATE: January 30, 2001