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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 153453 Find in a Library
Title: Consistently Inconsistent Application of Contempt Power in Juvenile Courts
Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice  Volume:17  Issue:2  Dated:(1994)  Pages:93-106
Author(s): R R Beger
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 14
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A controversy exists over the legal authority of juvenile court judges to apply contempt power to incarcerate nondelinquent youth.
Abstract: Decisions by reviewing courts reflect three distinct approaches to contempt power. One approach gives juvenile court judges unlimited legal authority to incarcerate status offenders for disobeying court orders. The second approach holds incarceration for contempt to be inappropriate and contrary to legislative directives under State juvenile court acts. The third approach strikes a middle ground in which incarcerating nondelinquent youth for contempt is permissible within narrow legal parameters. Resolving conflicts created by these disparate approaches will likely require Federal court intervention. Contempt powers are analyzed in relation to provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, court contempt decisions are reviewed, and the use of contempt power to coerce juvenile status offenders into attending school or living at home is viewed as a punitive sanction masquerading as a remedial measure. The author argues that the threat of confinement for status offenses blurs prohibitions in State juvenile codes that limit incarceration to delinquent minors and that the inconsistent application of contempt to incarcerate status offenders raises significant legal questions. 20 references and 5 endnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile courts
Index Term(s): Contempt of court; Incarceration; Juvenile delinquents; Juvenile detention; Juvenile status offenders; State laws
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