Juvenile Courts and the Juvenile Justice System

  1. You are a juvenile probation officer who is assigned to the intake unit. On Friday afternoon, a 15-year-old juvenile is brought to the intake unit by a police officer for stealing clothing worth $250 from a local department store. The officer states the juvenile has been cooperative since the arrest, and the officer has never arrested this juvenile before. You check the county records to obtain the delinquency history of this juvenile. You discover that two years ago the juvenile was taken into custody for running away from home and was released to the custody of his parents. After looking at the juvenile’s prior history, you contact the juvenile’s parents. The parents do not seem concerned that their son has been taken into custody and make the remark that they expected this to occur sooner or later. The parents also tell you that the juvenile has begun to skip school but has not been arrested for this behavior. What do you do with the case? Do you petition the case to juvenile court, handle the matter informally by placing the juvenile on informal probation, or dismiss the case altogether? What factors led you to make your decision? 2. Review the concept of parens patriae and explain why some states deny juvenile offenders the qualified right to post bail. Give your own opinion about the qualified right to post bail. 3. Joseph has been taken into custody for robbery of a convenience store. He was 14 years old at the time he allegedly committed the offense. During the robbery, Joseph displayed a handgun, but the store attendant was not physically injured. Joseph committed this offense with his 18-year-old brother. Joseph has been taken into custody on three prior occasions. Two involved auto theft and the other involved possession of marijuana. Joseph was on probation when he was taken into custody on the robbery charge. He has not been sent to a boot camp or other intermediate sanction program. Using the Kent criteria for guidance, would you waive Joseph to adult court for prosecution or retain the case in juvenile court? What factors led you to waive or retain the case? What sentence do you think Joseph should receive? 4. You are a juvenile court judge in a suburban county. A case involves a 16-year-old juvenile female accused of murder in the stabbing death of her mother during an argument over curfew time. The juvenile has had one prior contact with the juvenile justice system in which she was accused of assault and received one-year probation. She completed her probation term more than a year before her arrest for murder. On the basis of the evidence you hear during the adjudication hearing, you find the juvenile guilty of murder. On the basis of the offense committed, you are allowed by law to sentence the juvenile to either a juvenile institution or an adult prison. Would you sentence the juvenile to prison or an institution? What factors most strongly affected your decision? What impact do you think the institution or prison will have on the juvenile?

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