Gault case

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Supreme Court held that juveniles facing delinquency prosecutions must be afforded the due process protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The case is viewed as turning point in the constitutional rights of juveniles.

Gerald Gault, who was years-old, was taken into custody based on a complaint that he had made lewd telephone calls.

At a hearing before a juvenile court judge, the complaining witness was not present, no sworn testimony was heard, no transcript was made, and no testimony recorded. Nonetheless, Gerald was ordered committed to the State Industrial School as a juvenile delinquent until he reached the age of majority.

gault case

The State Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of the writ. By a vote ofthe Supreme Court reversed. Given the importance of due process rights, the Court concluded that juveniles were entitled to the same procedural protections as adults, including the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right to notice of the charges, and the right to a full hearing on the merits of the case. When the U. Supreme Court returns to the bench next month, one of the first cases it will conside In Barr v.

American Association of Political Consultants Inc. In Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine. THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

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Search Site. Read More. All Posts. Amendment 1.In the landmark juvenile law decision In re Gaultthe Supreme Court established that children are persons within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendmentand as such, they are entitled to its procedural protections. The decision set forth the legal principle that although minors are not entitled to every constitutional protection afforded to adults, they are not entirely without constitutional protection. Perhaps the most famous statement to emerge from this Supreme Court decision was that made by Justice Abe Fortas : "Neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor the Bill of Rights is for adults alone.

Gerald Gault, a fifteen-year-old boy, was charged with making a lewd telephone call to one of his female neighbors. Following a hearing on the charge, the juvenile court judge determined that Gault's actions were a disruption of the peace and that he had exhibited a pattern of engaging in immoral behaviors. The judge committed Gault to the Arizona State Industrial School a juvenile detention center until the age of twenty-one. During this hearing, Gault was not offered the same procedural protections to which he would have been entitled had he been tried in an adult criminal court.

His treatment, however, was consistent with the goals of juvenile justice during the first half of the twentieth century. During this era, juvenile justice was seen as reform rather than as criminal punishment; consequently, it was widely believed that the courts' reformative powers would be hampered if they were expected to apply the same constitutional rights to children as to adults.

This approach, however, was not without controversy, and the Supreme Court voiced its disapproval in the Gault case. The Court's decision in Gault established the principle that juvenile courts must observe standard procedures and provide specific protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Court set forth several procedural requirements for juvenile delinquency proceedings. First, the juvenile and his or her parents must be given written notice of the particular charges brought against him or her, and this notice must be delivered within such time as to permit the juvenile to have a reasonable opportunity to prepare for the hearing. Second, the juvenile and his or her parents must be notified of the juvenile's right to be represented by an attorney, and they must be informed that the court will appoint an attorney if they are unable to afford one.

The Court also held that juveniles, like adults, are entitled to the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination, and, finally, that juveniles have the right to hear the sworn testimony against them and to confront that testimony through the cross-examination of witnesses. The Court did not render an opinion regarding the key questions of whether a state must grant a juvenile a right to appeal a finding of delinquency or whether the state must provide an account either a transcript or audio recording of the court hearing.

However, the Court's affirmative declarations were of far greater importance than these omissions. Because the Court acknowledged limits on the state's power to justify the regulation of juveniles through reliance on the doctrine of parens patriae, In re Gault was a watershed decision for juvenile rights. It is commonly cited as the most important children's rights case.

Krisberg, Barry, and James F. Reinventing Juvenile Justice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Mnookin, Robert H. New York : W. Freeman and Company. Ramsey, Sarah H. Children and the Law in a Nutshell. PaulMN: West Group. Simonsen, Clifford E. Gordon III. Juvenile Justice in America.

New York : Macmillan.In re GaultU. Supreme Court decision in which the Primary Holding was that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment applies to juvenile defendants as well as to adult defendants. The court's opinion was written by Justice Abe Fortasa noted proponent of children's rights. On June 8,the sheriff of Gila County, Arizonatook year-old Gerald Gault into custody, without notifying Gault's parents after a neighbor, Ora Cook, complained of receiving an inappropriate and offensive telephone call.

According to Gault, his friend Ronald Lewis made the call from the Gault family's trailer. Gault claims that Lewis had asked to use the telephone while Gault was getting ready for work. Get out. Judge McGhee of the Gila County superior courtacting as a juvenile court judge, [5] presided over Gault's preliminary hearing the next morning, [3] which he ended by saying he would "think about it," and Gault remained in custody for several more days until he was released, without explanation.

On Gault's release, his mother received a note from the superintendent of the detention home informing her that "Judge McGhee has set Monday June 15, at A. At the hearing, McGhee found "that said minor is a delinquent child, and that said minor is of the age of 15 years" and ordered him confined at the State Industrial School "for the period of his minority [that is, until 21], unless sooner discharged by due process of law.

Gault's accuser, Cook, was not present at either hearing; McGhee said "she didn't have to be present. In particular, Gault's parents contested McGhee's claim that the teenager had admitted in court to making any of the alleged lewd statements.

In re Gault Establishes Due Process Rights for Juveniles

Arizona law then permitted no appeal in juvenile cases so Gault's parents petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus to obtain their son's release; the Supreme Court referred the case back to McGhee for hearing. On August 17, "McGhee was vigorously cross-examined as to the basis for his actions. The other section upon which I consider the boy delinquent is SectionSubsection dhabitually involved in immoral matters.

The evidence for the latter, according to McGhee's testimony, was that a two years earlier there had been a vague report, which the court had not acted upon due to, in McGhee's words, a "lack of material foundation" concerning the theft of a baseball glove; and b Gault's admission that in the past he had made telephone calls the judge described as "silly calls, or funny calls, or something like that. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the petition.

The court acknowledged that the constitutionality of the Juvenile Court proceedings required adherence to due process [14] but found that the Arizona Juvenile Code, in general, and the Gault proceedings, in specific, did not violate due process. In an 8—1 decision, the U.

In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967)

Supreme Court ruled that Gault's commitment to the State Industrial School was a violation of the Sixth Amendment since he had been denied the right to an attorney, had not been formally notified of the charges against him, had not been informed of his right against self-incrimination, and had no opportunity to confront his accusers.

Justice Potter Stewart was the sole dissenter.First Name. Last Name. Email Address. Soon after the phone call was made, Jerry was taken into police custody without his parents being notified of his arrest. Jerry reportedly confessed to the crime without a lawyer or his parents present.

Jerry appealed and the case made its way to the U. S Supreme Court. Under our Constitution, the condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court. Justice Abe Fortas, Gault, U. The Court held that children facing prosecution in juvenile court have the same due process rights as adults, including:.

In re Gaultas the case came to be known, transformed loose juvenile court proceedings into formal hearings that afforded children essential rights.

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These rights, especially the right to an attorney, are the cornerstones of a fair juvenile justice system. But, 50 years later, many children still face charges in complex court systems without the basic representation guaranteed in the Gault decision. Nearly five decades have passed since the Court decided Gault. Beforechildren accused of a crime had virtually no legal rights. They were at the mercy of a legal system that often led to unjust results.

But, even with the watershed changes required by the decision in Gaultthe impact has not been fully realized for children.

50 Years of Gault

As the 50th anniversary of Gault approaches, we must recommit to honoring this landmark decision so that all children may be assured of its benefits. They are our most vulnerable defendants and our most valuable assets. In re Gault was a giant step forward for the rights of children. Yet, due to inconsistent enforcement and lack of awareness, the due process rights of our children in delinquency court are not protected. The National Juvenile Defender Center and its allies and partners will be commemorating the Gault decision in the run up to the 50th anniversary.

Find an event below. At the National Juvenile Defender Center, we promote justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense.

NJDC was founded to guarantee every child facing prosecution in juvenile court is represented by an attorney who is specialized and trained to defend children.

Join Us. Thanks for signing up! The Court held that children facing prosecution in juvenile court have the same due process rights as adults, including: T he right to an attorney T he right to remain silent T he right to notice of the charges T he right to a full hearing on the merits of the case.

Background on the campaign Nearly five decades have passed since the Court decided Gault. Upcoming Events The National Juvenile Defender Center and its allies and partners will be commemorating the Gault decision in the run up to the 50th anniversary. No Results. Media Jun 14, - News Item Lahey: Due Process for Juveniles Fifty years on, many states continue to deny juveniles their right to counsel, either through legislation or in its implementation.In re Gault is the landmark case in which the U.

Supreme Court extended several constitutional rights to children prosecuted within juvenile justice systems. While these rights had long been accorded adults prosecuted in criminal courts, American courts had allowed states to skirt such protections in their separate juvenile tribunals. Fifteen-year-old Gerald Gault was arrested in Arizona in for making a lewd phone call to a neighbor.

He was apprehended while his parents were at work and held several nights at a juvenile detention home. He was not provided specific notice of the charges against him. He was not advised of, or extended, his right to counsel. He was not told of his right to remain silent. He was not allowed to confront witnesses against him. The victim never even appeared in court to testify.

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His hearing was never recorded or transcribed and, pursuant to state law, he had no right to appeal. United States, U. The Court concluded that there was still room for a juvenile justice system to operate in a distinct form from the criminal courts, but held that such courts must accord certain basic rights.

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On the other hand, the Court reserved judgment on whether a child has a constitutional right to an appeal. For example, a few terms later, in McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, U. Since Gault, many states have chosen to narrow the jurisdiction of their juvenile courts, reserving them exclusively for very young offenders and those charged with less serious crimes.

Other aspects of these courts have changed as well. In many states, juvenile proceedings have been opened to public view. Juvenile records, once sealed, are increasingly available to the public or for use in later adult proceedings. Some critics argue that these changes are the logical result of Gault. In this view, states were willing to treat children less harshly than adults, but only on the condition that they be allowed to impose swift, albeit rough, justice.

Whatever the merits of this view, the Court made clear in Gault that juvenile justice remains strictly regulated by the Constitution. Toggle navigation Civil liberties in the United States.

In re Gault, U. Name E-mail. Random posts. Useful Links.Appellants' year-old son, Gerald Gault, was taken into custody as the result of a complaint that he had made lewd telephone calls. After hearings before a juvenile court judge, Gerald was ordered committed to the State Industrial School as a juvenile delinquent until he should reach majority.

Appellants brought a habeas corpus action in the state courts to challenge the constitutionality of the Arizona Juvenile Code and the procedure actually used in Gerald's case, on the ground of denial of various procedural due process rights.

The State Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of the writ. Agreeing that the constitutional guarantee of due process applies to proceedings in which juveniles are charged as delinquents, the court held that the Arizona Juvenile Code impliedly includes the requirements of due process in delinquency proceedings, and that such due process requirements were not offended by the procedure leading to Gerald's commitment.

Kent v. United States, U. The holding in this case relates only to the adjudicatory stage of the juvenile process, where commitment to a state institution may follow.

When proceedings may result in incarceration in an institution of. Due process requires, in such proceedings, that adequate written notice be afforded the child and his parents or guardian. Such notice must inform them "of the specific issues that they must meet," and must be given "at the earliest practicable time, and, in any event, sufficiently in advance of the hearing to permit preparation.

In such proceedings, the child and his parents must be advised of their right to be represented by counsel and, if they are unable to afford counsel, that counsel will be appointed to represent the child. Gault's statement at the habeas corpus hearing that she had known she could employ counsel, is not "an intentional relinquishment or abandonment' of a fully known right.

Furthermore, experience has shown that "admissions and confessions by juveniles require special caution" as to their reliability and voluntariness, and "[i]t would indeed be surprising if the privilege against self-incrimination were available to hardened criminals, but not to children. If counsel was not present for some permissible reason when an admission was obtained, the greatest care must be taken to assure that the admission was voluntary. Absent a valid confession, a juvenile in such proceedings must be afforded the rights of confrontation and sworn testimony of witnesses available for cross-examination.

gault case

Other questions raised by appellants, including the absence of provision for appellate review of a delinquency adjudication, and a transcript of the proceedings, are not ruled upon.

This is an appeal under 28 U. The petition sought the release of Gerald Francis Gault, appellants' year-old son, who had been committed as a juvenile delinquent to the State Industrial School by the Juvenile Court of Gila County, Arizona.

The Supreme Court of Arizona affirmed dismissal of the writ against various arguments which included an attack upon the constitutionality of the Arizona Juvenile Code because of its alleged denial of procedural due process rights to juveniles charged with being "delinquents.

gault case

It held that Arizona's Juvenile Code is to be read as "impliedly" implementing the "due process concept. We do not agree, and we reverse. We begin with a statement of the facts. On Monday, June 8,at about 10 a. Gerald was then still subject to a six months' probation order which had been entered on February 25,as a result of his having been in the company of another boy who had stolen a wallet from a lady's purse. The police action on June 8 was taken as the result of a verbal complaint by a neighbor of the boys, Mrs.

Cook, about a telephone call made to her in which the caller or callers made lewd or indecent remarks. It will suffice for purposes of this opinion to say that the remarks or questions put to her were of the irritatingly offensive, adolescent, sex variety.

At the time Gerald was picked up, his mother and father were both at work. No notice that Gerald was being taken into custody was left at the home.

gault case

No other steps were taken to advise them that their son had, in effect, been arrested. Gerald was taken to the Children's Detention Home. When his mother arrived home at about 6 o'clock, Gerald was not there.In re GaultU. The Court ruled that juveniles children and teenagers have the same rights as adults when they are accused of a crime. For example, they have due process rights, like the right to have a lawyerwhen they are being questioned by the policeand when they are on trial.

The Court's ruling in this case was so important for children's rights that Justice Earl Warren said it would become "the Magna Carta for juveniles. In the four years before the Supreme Court decided In re: Gaultthe Court also decided some other very important cases about due process rights — the rights people have when they are accused of a crime. However, these rulings did not apply to children who were being tried in juvenile courts.

The case was argued by Norman Dorsen in favor of the juveniles. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution says that "In all criminal prosecutionsthe accused shall enjoy the right to Also, the Fourteenth Amendment says that no state can take away any person's "life, libertyor propertywithout due process of law; nor deny to any person Based on these two amendments, the Supreme Court decided these landmark cases :. These decisions, however, only applied to adult courts.

While the Constitution never says that its rights are only for adults, American courts had never given juveniles the same due process rights as adults. In the United States' court system, there are separate courts for children who are accused of committing crimes or having behavior problems. These are called "juvenile courts. Every state has its own laws about their juvenile courts. However, usually, if the judge rules that the child is " delinquent ," the judge can make that child a " ward of the court.

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At the time that Gerald Gault was arrestedjuveniles had very few rights in the juvenile justice system. For example, they could be put in jail without a trialor without even knowing what crime they were being charged with.

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On June 8,a police officer arrested Gerald Gault, a fifteen-year-old. The sheriff did not tell Gault's parents that he had been arrested. He was arrested after a neighbor named Ora Cook who complained that she received an obscene, vulgar phone call. At the time, Gault was on probation. He had been put on probation for six months, starting February 25,for being with another boy who stole a woman's wallet. Meanwhile, Gault's mother came home and realized he was missing.

She eventually found him at the county Children's Detention Home, but was she not allowed to take him home. Gault has always said that his friend Ronald Lewis made the call to Cook from the Gault family's trailer.