CASE STUDY 7
AJuvenile Court refers to a trial court that deals with minors whoviolate the state or federal law. The jurisdictions cover to the ageof 18 years but have no restrictions in cases where under-age arecharged as adults. The Juvenile Court seeks the involvement ofparents and probation officers so that the under-age is guided intobetter ways away from criminal behaviors in the future (Champion etal., 2012). However, in cases where the minor commits a second crime,it can lead to sentencing, and he can be transferred to the stateprison. The Juvenile Court has the power to determine the fate of aminor and whether the parental rights will be denied. In the Juvenilecourt system, there are numerous key players that work together tocome up with the best decision that benefits the minor. These playersinclude the Judge, Juvenile Police Officer and Probation Officer.They have different roles in the court system.
Thefirst duty of Juvenile judges is to hear the cases and give justdecisions that serve the best interest of both sides of the case.They deal with matters pertaining under-age that have been chargedwith offenses such as the one Charlie is facing. They listen to theevidence and reports provided by probation department before making adecision (Del & Trulson 2010). The seriousness of the matter isalso a determining factor. Other factors observed include the age ofthe minor, behavior as well as the home background. The other roleplayed by the Juvenile judges is determining the sentences for theoffenses committed by the juveniles. It is because these courts donot have juries. Other functions include interpreting criminal lawsas well as enforcing them. They must give rulings on fair groundswithout favoring anyone (Champion et al., 2012).
Thesecond key players in the Juvenile court system are the policeofficers. Their role is challenging due to the different laws thatprotect the child. The first role of police officers is courtreferrals. They bring the minors to the police in juveniledepartments for further questioning and detaining them. They are thepersons who decide whether to refer the matter to the court forchildren system or to drop (Del& Trulson 2010).They are required to follow certain laws that protect the under-age,for example, not holding them in custody for more than six hours. Theother role is that they should provide protective services that keepthem away from the mayhem. They are required to protect minors incases where they are mistreated or abandoned. The third importantrole is education. In most cases, police officers partner witheducational institutions to educate and caution students aboutcriminal behaviors.
TheJuvenile probation officer is the third player in the court system.They supervise the minors who are on probation for committingoffenses. They discuss with the under-age parents to gather moreevidence on the causes of such behaviors (Champion et al., 2012). Itmeans that they play a prominent role in investigating the matter athand through interviews with parents and guardians. They also makeregular visits to their homes to identify whether they comply withthe terms and conditions of the court. Juvenile probation officersprovide that the minors appear in court whenever they are required.In addition, they are required to remain on call in case a crisisoccurs that pertain the defendant juvenile.
Question2 & 3
Theprocess followed when a minor commits a crime is different from thatof an adult criminal. Most states have established juvenile courtsthat deal with suspected minor criminals. The various players in thechildren`s court systems including the judges, probation officers andpolice officers work together to provide the best decision (Del &Trulson 2010). There are numerous ways in which the under-age comesinto contact with the police officers on issues of suspected crimes.The under-age might be apprehended by the law enforcers. The otherinstance is where the parents seek help from the police officers.When law enforcers arrest the minor, they decide on the matter innumerous ways. The options include issuing a warning detain thechild until the parents appear or referring a child to the juvenilecourt (Champion et al., 2012).
Oncethe case is referred to the children`s court by police officers, theprobation officer takes over. The director adopts the similar stepstaken by the police officer. He decides whether to dismiss the case,address it in person or petition the case (Del & Trulson 2010).In determining whether to file the charges, the probation officeconsiders different features. The features include the minor age,seriousness of the matter accused, record and gender among others.Research shows that over 25% of the cases referred to the probationofficer are dismissed. The officers solve over 20% of the casespersonally while the remaining percentage is filed in the juvenilecourt. In circumstances where the case is petitioned, the minor ismandated to appear before the children`s judge (Champion et al.,2012). The judge determines whether to detain or release the childbefore the case proceedings. In most cases, the juvenile judge allowsthe child to remain at home before the initial hearing.
Thejuvenile judge has numerous options in the minor`s case. The minormay enter into a plea agreement. It means that he may be required toattend certain programs such as counseling. The other option isdiverting the case. The judge retains the sentencing while theunder-age undergoes individual programs such as community service andcounseling among others (Del & Trulson 2010). If the judge givesa delinquency ruling, the probation officer issues orders for theexamination of the child. The outcomes of the tests conducted arehanded back to the judge who finally decides on whether the childwill undergo counseling, probation or detention.
Theduties of the players in the juvenile court systems have similarfeatures as well as differences. The judges, police and probationofficers play a central role in the administration of justice. Theyall ensure that the accountability is observed in the caseproceedings in order to give the minor the best possible outcome(Championet al., 2012).The juvenile judge is responsible for the administration of justiceand coordinates all the services between the court and the probationdepartment. In addition, the three key players in the juvenile systemensure that the decision-making process is fair and unbiased way.
Theother similarity is that the three can decide to dismiss or file thecharges according to their understanding. The other similarity isthat they all work together to promote and establish resources thatfacilitate the achievement of the community`s goal of these courts.On the other hand, there exist differences between the three playersin the juvenile system. The first difference is that once the chargesare filed, the judge gives the final ruling, and the case cannot bereferred backward. The juvenile judges determine the sentences forthe minors while the probation and police officers investigate thematter and provide evidence to the judge for final rulings (Del& Trulson 2010).
Shopliftingis a crime whereby a person takes an item from another person withouthis consent. An offense is considered petty depending on the value ofthe item stolen. Whether one is an adult or an under-age, shopliftingis a serious crime. Charlie, who is a 10-year-old boy, has beencharged with counts of shoplifting at a local convenient store.Majority of the nations consider a petty crime as the one that thevalue of the property taken is less than $ 50 (Champion et al.,2012). It means that any property taken higher than $ 50 isconsidered a crime that calls for a stiffer punishment. The decisionsof these courts are intended to teach the under-age rather thanpunish. In determining the type of punishment appropriate forCharlie, the judge may consider the minor`s past criminal record.
Charliehas been involved in several counts of shoplifting and hence thejudge may decide on confinement or placement. He can be taken to thedetention organization and enroll in the prison programs offered. Thecourt will also assess whether the social background facilitates theminor`s behavior (Del & Trulson 2010). If the court findsevidence supporting the claim, it can order the removal of the childto a state facility that will provide better care.
Champion,D. J., Merlo, A. V., & Benekos, P. J. (2012). Thejuvenile justice system: Delinquency, Processing, and the Law.Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.
Del,C. R. V., & Trulson, C. R. (2010). Juvenilejustice: The system, process, and law.Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.