University of Central Florida
“Should the Juvenile Court should be Abolished”?
The house of refuge, in the 18th century and early 19th century, the youth were normally punished in jails. Options for juvenile punishment were created after extensively being confined with adult criminals. Youth were exposed and placed with harden criminals and mentally ill adults within overcrowded correction facilities. Majority of the youth were placed in confinement were for non-violent behavior. This was the only option that was existed for the youth. The criminal courts began to try both youth and adults. However, within the 16th century educational reform movement in England. A decision was reinforced that the youth were need to be tried differently than the adults in court. This arise due to several reasons over capacity and morals for the youth. The first establishment was in 1899 in Cook County, Illinois, this began to spread across the country and the juvenile court became an entity that then led to the juvenile justice system. The ancient legal doctrine parens patriae declared the king to become the guardian of all the subjects. The court intervene on behalf of the youth. This allowed to assist and make decision that can help the youth by their life circumstances and their delinquent act. To toughen up the juvenile- justice system began in the mid 1970’s due to the juvenile crime wave. Most states had passed legislation making it easier to transfer juveniles to adult court, to place juveniles in adult jails and prison, longer sentences for juveniles and reduce the confidently of the juvenile records. In McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, the court denied the constitutional rights to jury trials. McKeiver relied upon the verbal differences between the juvenile courts and the treatment rationale and criminal courts. With McKeiver decision a treatment justification was granted, the right to a jury trial later than provided legal conditions to punish youths.
The issue of Juvenile Court lies at the center of the criminal justice policy. The problem identified within this research is that Juvenile Court should be Abolished. The court required states to prove the juvenile delinquency by the criminal law. This required to justification by the “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The court applied the constitutional ban on the double jeopardy to prohibit a youth’s adjudication in both juvenile court and criminal court for the same offense,( Breed v Jones). The juvenile court has failed in its rehabilitation efforts and not punishing serious criminal behavior by the youth. The legislative considers that the juvenile courts has failed to realize the purpose of punishing the juveniles. They have lost the strategic of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction. Examples such as truancy or incorrigibly, in which crimes such as these would not be committed by an adult. In the 1970’s it was objected that the juvenile’s courts status jurisdiction treated non-criminal offenders through their one- sided intervention (cite).
Critics also claim it is wrong for juvenile offenders who have committed violent crimes to be released from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court at age eighteen or twenty-one. Serving a few years in a juvenile correction facility for a crime that if committed by an adult would result in a ten-year sentence is unjust. The punishment for a crime, argue critics, should be the same, regardless of the age of the perpetrator.
According to Ainsworth (1991), a variety of reasons why juvenile court judges convict more willingly than juries. Fact finding by judges and juries is intrinsically different since the former try hundreds of cases every year while the latter hear only one or two. As a result of hearing many cases routinely, judges may become less meticulous in considering evidence, may evaluate facts more casually, and may apply less stringently the concepts of reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence than do jurors (Ainsworth 1991). The personal characteristics of judges differ from those of jurors, and it is more difficult for a defendant to determine how those personal characteristics will affect the decision in a case. (Feld, B., 1993).
In most states, judges choose whether the juvenile is considered a criminal or a delinquent. This is done with a waiver hearing based on whether a youth is a criminal or a delinquent in a waiver hearing and base their dangerous to society. The inherent subjectivity of waiver criteria permits a variety of racial inequalities and geographic disparities.
Prior to 1978, New York authorized criminal courts to process youth as young as 13-year old that were charged with serious offenses. Today, a juvenile convicted of murder may receive life imprisonment. Maximum sentences for other Class A felonies are between four and fifteen years.12 The punishment effect is obvious; the deterrent effect has yet to be shown. ( RETAIN JUVENILE COURT)
Judges impose unequal and discriminatory punishment on similarly situated offenders without effective procedural or appellate checks. Felds argued that by combining both juvenile and adult court will continue to be an issue due to the age issue when sentencing. Felds argues that if a juvenile is accused or pleads insanity for a crime then they are well old enough to realize that what they did was a crime. Felds states that It is common knowledge that an adolescent’s brain is not fully developed and that they think and reason in different ways than adults do. Based on this information alone it is clear that age would have to be a mitigating factor in sentencing those juveniles who are under 18. (Feld, B., 1993)
Another factor, Financial reimbursement to victims has long been used by juvenile probation intake officers (often without statutory authorization) and less frequently by judges. Currently, state after state is legitimating and extending both money and service hours restitution for juvenile offenders. This symbolizes increased concern for the status quo rights; of victims and dissatisfaction with unfettered counseling as a primary probation department response to a juvenile offense. (retain juvenile court)