court cases that changed how juveniles are handled

Compose an essay of 500 – 700 words that identifies and describes at least two (2) landmark court decisions directly related to the way the criminal justice system must handle a juvenile offender. As part of your discussion, explain the key differences in how a juvenile offender is handled by the criminal justice system as opposed to an adult offender as a result of these landmark court cases, being sure to highlight the reasoning behind these differences.

Directly quoted material may be used, but will not count towards the minimum word count. Be sure to support your response with cited scholarly resources as required by APA. A minimum of three (3) peer-reviewed scholarly sources must be used when composing your response.

Court Case History


Prior to discussing the role of law enforcement and courts in the juvenile justice system, a brief review of court cases that impacted juvenile justice would prove beneficial. These Supreme Court decisions were driving factors in the way law enforcement and courts deal with juveniles today.


Haley v. Ohio (1948) – Obtaining a confession from a juvenile that has not been advised of their rights or allowed access to an adult representative constitutes a violation of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.


Kent v. United States (1966) – Juvenile courts do not have unlimited powers and deciding to move a juvenile case to adult court requires 1) providing the juvenile with the basis due process of a hearing with effective counsel and 2) a “statement of reasons” explaining the decision to move the case to adult court.


Miranda v. Arizona (1966) – While best known for the requirement that adults be advised of their rights prior to questioning and/or when arrested, this ruling also applied to juveniles.


In re Gault (1967) – This groundbreaking ruling established that juveniles have many of the same rights as adult charged with crimes including, the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, the right to notice of charges, and the right to a full hearing to establish the merits of the case being presented.


In re Winship (1970) – In cases of juvenile adjudication delinquency hearings the standard of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) is the same as that for criminal cases.


McKeiver v. Pennsylvania (1971) – The due process clause of the 14th Amendment does not guarantee a juvenile the right to trial by jury during an adjudicatory hearing.


Breed v. Jones (1975) – Once a juvenile has been tried in an adjudicatory hearing, trying them again in a criminal case constitutes a violation of the double jeopardy clause of the 5th Amendment.


Commonwealth v. Guyron (1989) – An underage caregiver cannot represent a juvenile as an interested adult in a case. Adults must represent juveniles during court hearings.


Roper v. Simmons (2005) – Imposition of the death penalty on juveniles constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, thereby making it no longer an option. A lack of maturity, as well as the existence of vulnerability was key factors in deciding that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment for juveniles.


Graham v. Florida (2010) – Imposing life without the possibility of parole on juveniles is unconstitutional. While the state need not guarantee that the juvenile will eventually be released, they must provide some realistic opportunity to obtain release in the future.


Miller v. Alabama (2012) – In homicide cases where life without parole is the only sentencing option, mitigating factors must be considered in the cases of juveniles prior to imposing a sentence of life without parole.

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