• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, provided for the rights of juveniles accused of committing crimes

Justice Abe Fortas,Fortas, Abe;Gault, In re[Gault, In re] writing for an 8-1 majority, upheld a habeas corpus petition for a fifteen-year-old boy who had been sent to a juvenile detention center without notice to his parents. The Supreme Court ruled that juveniles had to be accorded the same rights of notice, rights to legal counsel and to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and privilege against self-incrimination as were accorded to adults under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.Juvenile justice;Gault, In re[Gault, In re]

For most of the twentieth century, juveniles were treated differently than adults in the belief that juveniles should have less adversarial, more informal adjudication of criminal activity. As the numbers of juveniles committing crimes rose, calls for more control increased. In a parallel development, the Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, also attempted to increase the protections for those accused of crimes, including juveniles, as in this ruling. In his partial dissent, Justice John M. Harlan II questioned whether Gault was a proper use of the due process clause. Justice Potter Stewart dissented, arguing that the decision made the juvenile and adult systems too similar.

Due process, procedural

Fourteenth Amendment

Juvenile justice

Miranda v. Arizona

Winship, In re

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