Juvenile Courts versus Adult Courts

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Juvenile Courts versus Adult Courts

The components of the adult and juvenile criminal process are somewhat the same. However, there are more services available for juvenile than adults. If a juvenile do wrong act they are label as a delinquent child and their act is label as a delinquent act, they are taken into custody whereas if an adult do wrong doing they are label as a criminal and the act is label as a crime and they are arrested. The language used in juvenile courts is less harsh than that used in adult courts. For example, juvenile courts allow “petitions of delinquency” instead of criminal complaints, conducts “hearing,” not trials, “adjudicate” juveniles to be “delinquent” instead of charging them with a crime, and order one of a number of available “dispositions” rather than sentences. Juvenile and adult justice system both has a right to due process which guarantees protection of individual rights. The 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments to the Constitution guarantee due process of law and are in place to ensure the accused rights are safeguarded. However, the Court’s interpretations do not offer any pretense of providing juveniles with the same kinds of protections guaranteed to adult defendants. While the high court has tended to agree that juveniles are entitled to due process protection, it doesn’t allow juveniles all rights of due process as it does for adults.

Juvenile court system also differs from the adult court system. Among them are a reduce concern with legal issues of guilt or innocence and an emphasis on the child’s best interests; an emphasis on treatment rather than punishment; privacy and protection from public scrutiny through the use of sealed records, laws against publishing the names of juvenile offenders; the use of the techniques of social science in dispositional decision making rather than sentence determined by a perceived need for punishment; no long term confinement, with most juveniles being released from institutions by their twenty-first birthday, regardless of offense; separate facilities for juveniles; and broad discretionary alternatives at all points in the process (Schmalleger, 2013). This combination of court philosophy and due process requirements has created a unique justice system for juveniles that take into consideration the special needs of young people while attempting to offer reasonable protection to society.

In adult court systems, the criminal proceedings focus on criminality and in juvenile proceedings focus on delinquency and status offenses. In adult criminal proceedings, they also grant rights against unreasonable searches while juvenile proceedings limit rights against unreasonable searches. A right against self-incrimination is also granted in adult court proceedings however, a right against self-incrimination; (waivers are open to discussion in juvenile court proceedings) (Schmalleger, 2013). In adult criminal proceeding, adults are assumed innocent until proven guilty whereas, in juvenile court proceedings guilt and innocence are not primary issues instead the system focus on the best interest of the child. Adult criminal proceedings have adversarial setting and juvenile court proceedings have helping context.

In adult criminal proceedings defendants are issue an arrest warrant for their arrest. After the arrest warrant the defendant are given several rights which include the right to an attorney, right to public trial, however, has no right to treatment, but are giving possibility of bail or release on recognizance, has public record of trial and judgment, has possible incarceration in adult correctional facility, and the system goals are punishment and reformation. In juvenile proceedings petitions or complaints legitimize apprehension, the juvenile has a right to an attorney, however, there is no jury trial but instead a closed hearing, the juvenile is offer a right to treatment unlike adult proceedings, the juvenile is also release into the custody of parents or legal guardian, unlike adult criminal proceedings, juvenile records are sealed and may be destroyed by a certain age, juvenile proceeding also has separate facilities at all levels, and the system goals are protection and treatment.

In juvenile justice system the juvenile is taken into custody and given detention whereas in adult justice system the suspect is arrested and taken to jail. Juveniles are given petition and adults are given indictment. Juvenile are given a private hearing unlike adults who are given a public trial in which they are allowed during an arraignment to plea before trail in an effort to get a reduce sentence or if they decide to take it trial in which they stand a chance of being acquittal. However, if not acquittal they are incarcerated in which they will serve the time given to them. They are allowed to appeal the conviction. An appeal is a direct attack upon the conviction which is also part of the adult criminal proceeding which can only be filed after conviction. Once time has been served many are put on parole or probation for a certain time frame. Unlike the adult justice system, the juvenile case is dismissed and the juvenile is placed in detention and at times place on probation or instructed to attend an aftercare program.

In adult justice courts, in lineups and showups, the right to due process applies and is violated if the identification procedure is impermissibly suggestive. The right to protection against self-incrimination does not apply, because the self-incrimination involved is physical, not testimonial. However, for photographic identification, the right to due process applies and is violated if the identification procedure is impermissibly suggestive. The right to protection against self-incrimination does not apply, because the self-incrimination involved is physical, not testimonial.

In adult and juvenile justice system there are several similarities. Discretion is used when making decision for both systems. Miranda warnings are also granted to both, and both are also protected from prejudicial lineups and any other identification procedures. If adult or juvenile plead guilty there are safeguards there to help protect them. Prosecutors and defense attorneys play equally critical roles in both systems and both have the right to counsel and if necessary, pretrial motions are available. Negotiations and plea bargaining exist for both offenders and both have rights to hearing and appeals. The standard of evidence in both systems is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Both can also be placed on probation by the court and both can be placed in pretrial detention facilities and without bail if they are considered dangerous. However, after trial, both can place in community treatment programs and be required to undergo drug testing if needed.

In adult and juvenile systems there are also differences. In juvenile procedures the main focus is to get the juvenile treatment and protection and in adult procedures the aim is to punish the guilty. In determining the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, age is considered whereas in adult court, the court considers the nature of offense. Conversely, depending on the nature of the juvenile offense, the juvenile may be order to appear in adult court. In spite of this, juveniles can be apprehended for acts that would not be criminal if an adult committed the act, this is because juveniles proceeding are not considered criminal but adult proceedings are consider criminal. Juvenile court proceeding are informal and private while adult court proceedings are formal and open to the public. Courts cannot release information about a juvenile, but are required to release information about an adult. Parents are involved in juvenile process but not in adult process. The standard of arrest is harsher for adults than for juveniles. Juvenile are released into parental custody while adults are given bail. Juvenile has no right to trial while, adult has a right to trial. Juveniles can be search at school without probable cause or a warrant. Juvenile’s record is sealed until they reach a certain age but adult records are permanent. Juvenile courts cannot sentence juveniles to serve time at the county jails or state prison because they are reserved for adults. Juveniles at the age of sixteen and seventeen can be given the death penalty. Yes, I do feel there is enough significant difference and yes, these differences will continue to justify having a separate juvenile system.