History Of The Juvenile Justice System

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The United States juvenile court system has come a long way throughout the years. There has been many significant cases in the juvenile system that set the standard for what the system is now. Cases such as Kent vs. United States, In re Gault, and In re Winship are examples of major cases that challenged state rulings and later changed the technicalities of future, similar cases because they called upon the Supreme Court to change or state the rules. These three cases built some of the framework on what the juvenile justice system is today.
In a case known as Kent versus the United States, a sixteen year old, Morris Kent was tried as an adult without first getting a counselor or a proper hearing to approve an adult court setting. Sixteen year
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In the In re Gault case, fifteen year old Gerald Gault and his friend were both charged for making several vulgar and rude phone calls. Gault, like Kent, was on juvenile probation at the time he was arrested. After the minor was arrested, his parents and/or guardians were not notified. Since apparently, the local juvenile court in which held jurisdiction over the Gault case, disagreed with the state’s right of appeal laws, the “court” that handled the case operated very unofficially and illegally. Shortly after his arrest, Gault was sent to an unauthorized and informal hearing in which members of the “court” dictated Gault’s punishment. During this hearing, no records were kept (which is against protocol) and Gault was not allowed to have a defense attorney. To further the ludicrously of this court hearing, the actual plaintiff that had received the crude phone calls was not even present. This court sentenced Gerald Gault and his friend to Arizona State Industrial School until they were 21 years of age. Soon after the ruling, Gault got a defense attorney that challenged the unfairness of Gault’s so called “trial”. His defense attorney argued that Gault had not been given a fair trial. After some time, the case was sent to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that all juveniles were allowed the same basic precautions and protections that an adult is given, as written in the U.S. Constitution. …show more content…
When Winship went to court, the court ruled that Winship was guilty based on preponderance of evidence. This evidence was based on an employee’s testimony that he saw Winship running from the store shortly before the woman discovered her money was missing from her purse. Contrary to other employee’s testimonies that said the witness’s testimony couldn’t have been factual based on his location, this is the preponderance of evidence that the court accepted as plausible. Preponderance of evidence is different from beyond a reasonable doubt because with preponderance, the evidence does not directly point to one person or another based on the amount of incriminating evidence against said person; the preponderance of evidence points to the more probable truth based on the evidence, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. The court also based their ruling on the fact that had this crime been committed by an adult, the punishment would be much more severe. With that in mind, the juvenile court sentenced Winship to a juvenile delinquent school, even with the possibility that Winship was not guilty. Later, Winship and his defense attorney appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court with the reasoning that proof beyond a reasonable doubt was what maintained due process, thus should be required in juvenile courts. The Supreme Court ruled that

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