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Criminal Justice paper

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The details of the cases and the court's decision.
CASE 1 .
Kent v. United States, 383 U.S. 541 (1966)
Procedural Background
In 1961, while on probation from an earlier case, 16-year-old Morris A. Kent, Jr., was arrested
and charged with housebreaking, rape, and robbery. Kent confessed to the offenses and offered
information on several similar incidents. Anticipating that the District of Columbia Juvenile
Court would consider waiving its jurisdiction over Kent and remitting him for trial to the
criminal system, Kent’s attorney filed motions requesting a hearing on the issue of jurisdiction
and seeking access to the juvenile court’s social services file on Kent. The juvenile court judge
did not rule on this motion. Instead, he entered an order stating that the juvenile court was
waiving jurisdiction over Kent after making a “full investigation.” The judge did not describe the
investigation or the grounds for the waiver.
When Kent was indicted in criminal court, Kent’s lawyer moved to dismiss the criminal
indictment, arguing that the juvenile court’s waiver had been invalid. That motion was overruled,
and Kent was subsequently tried in criminal court and found guilty on six counts of
housebreaking and robbery.
He was sentenced to 30 to 90 years in prison. On appeal, Kent’s attorney again challenged the
validity of the waiver. Appellate courts, however, rejected the appeal, refused to scrutinize the
juvenile court judge’s “investigation,” and accepted the waiver as valid. In appealing to the U.S.
Supreme Court, Kent’s attorney argued that the judge had not made a complete investigation and
that Kent had been denied his constitutional rights simply because he was a minor.
U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the juvenile court order waiving jurisdiction invalid, holding that
Kent’s counsel should have had access to all records involved in the waiver decision and that the
judge should have provided a written statement of the reasons for waiver. The Court also held
that waiver hearings do not need to conform to all the formal requirements of a criminal trial, but
that they must measure up to “the essentials of due process and fair treatment.” In particular, the
Court held that juveniles facing waiver are entitled to:
Representation by counsel.
Access to social services records.
A written statement of the reasons for waiver.

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Kent Waiver Criteria
In an appendix to its opinion, the Court in Kent detailed the following “criteria and principles
concerning waiver of jurisdiction”:
An offense falling within the statutory limitations . . . will be waived if it has prosecutive merit
and if it is heinous or of an aggravated character, or—even though less serious—if it represents a
pattern
of repeated offenses which indicate that the juvenile may be beyond rehabilitation under Juvenile
Court procedures, or if the public needs the protection afforded by such action.
The determinative factors which will be considered by the Judge in deciding whether the
Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction over such offenses will be waived are the following:
1. The seriousness of the alleged offense to the community and whether the protection of the
community requires waiver.
2. Whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful
manner.
3. Whether the alleged offense was against persons or against property, greater weight being
given to offenses against persons especially if personal injury resulted.
4. The prosecutive merit of the complaint, i.e., whether there is evidence upon which a Grand
Jury may be expected to return an indictment (to be determined by consultation with the
[prosecuting attorney]).
5. The desirability of trial and disposition of the entire offense in one court when the juvenile’s
associates in the alleged offense are adults who will be charged with a crime in [criminal court].
6. The sophistication and maturity of the juvenile as determined by consideration of his home,
environmental situation, emotional, attitude, and pattern of living.
7. The record and previous history of the juvenile, including previous contacts with [social
service agencies], other law enforcement agencies, juvenile courts and other jurisdictions, prior
periods of probation to [the court], or prior commitments to juvenile institutions.
8. The prospects for adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of reasonable
rehabilitation of the juvenile (if he is found to have committed the alleged offense) by the use of
procedures, services and facilities currently available to the Juvenile Court.

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CASE 2.
In re Gault (1967)
In Gila County in Arizona of 1967 the case of In re Gault may have been the most noteworthy
and rights alternating case for juveniles. In this one case there was 4 major rights granted to
juveniles. The right to notice of charges, the right to counsel, the right to confront and cross-
examine witnesses and the right to invoke the privilege against self incrimination. The two
additional rights that Gault requested that were not granted were the right to a transcript of the
proceedings and the right to an appellate review.
In short, Gerald Francis Gault was a 15 year old boy that had a prior record, Gault and a friend
had called a neighbor and spoke obscenities to her. When Gault was accused by the neighbor
Mrs. Cook he was apprehended and held at the children’s Detention Home, Gault’s parents didn’t
learn of this tell much later in the evening.
On June 9
th
a hearing was held were Mrs. Cook was not present, no one was sworn in, no
transcripts were kept, and there was no memorandum of the substance of the proceedings was
prepared. The testimony in the hearing consisted of allegations of Gault’s behavior and prior
record of an accessory to theft. He was with a friend that stole a wallet from a lady. The juvenile
judge ruled that Gault committed lewd phone calls, stating that he is a juvenile delinquent of
Arizona and that he be held in the Arizona State Industrial School for the remainder of his
minority. A 6 year sentence in the maximum security for juvenile’s in the state. The same offense
for an adult is a 50 dollar fine or 60 days in jail, and that’s the maximum.
Once all of Gault’s appeals were exhausted at the state level, the case was transferred to the
Supreme Courts. They were appalled when they heard how Gault was handled by the juvenile
court system. They ruled in Gault’s favor by a 7-2 vote.

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