Congress as well as the states passes laws that affect the entire criminal justice system, adult and juvenile. Court decisions can have as much, if not more, effect on the justice system. Court decisions typically provide mandates for what law enforcement and the courts can and cannot do and what is constitutional and what is not.
Over time, we have seen a far slower evolution of rights apply to juvenile proceedings in comparison to rights that apply in adult proceedings. The rationale behind this can be connected to the differing approaches to juvenile offenders. As perceptions changed throughout history, rights continued to increase in application. It was an evolving process. We still see some key distinctions to date, including in the areas of jury trials and utilization of the death penalty.
In your main post:
- Compare rights that apply in the juvenile and the adult criminal justice system.
- Determine the impact of the differences in rights throughout the system.
- Explore the public policy behind the difference in the evolution and application of rights in juvenile versus adult criminal justice processes.