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NCJ Number: 192219 Find in a Library
Title: Parens Patriae Figure or Impartial Fact Finder: Policy Questions and Conflicts for the Juvenile Court Judge
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:12  Issue:4  Dated:December 2001  Pages:311-332
Author(s): Joseph B. Sanborn Jr.
Date Published: December 2001
Page Count: 22
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Interviews with 100 juvenile court workers from 3 juvenile courts gathered information on how judges operate in juvenile court and what these workers perceive to be the proper role for the judge.
Abstract: Juvenile court judges for several decades had the roles of jurist, psychologist, counselor, sociologist, and parent. The In re Gault decision in 1967 granted juvenile defendants several constitutional rights that transformed juvenile courts into criminal court-like operations. However, juvenile court judges have not been told whether they should continue to be paternal or should emulate their counterparts in adult court. The three courts in the present study were in a northeastern State and included an urban court, a suburban court, and a rural court. Fifteen judges, 25 prosecutors, 20 public defenders, 20 private attorneys, and 20 probation officers completed interviews. Results challenged a variety of assumptions about the role of the juvenile court judge and the nature of the juvenile court process. Nearly all participants regarded juvenile rehabilitation as the primary concern and responsibility of the juvenile court judge, contrary to today’s prevailing assumption. Moreover, participants perceived judicial responsibility to be relevant to all stages of the juvenile court except for the adjudicatory hearing. However, participants also claimed that juvenile court judges were not receiving appropriate training and that they relied too heavily on probation officers’ recommendations. The analysis concluded that claims of the juvenile court’s criminalization had been exaggerated and that most juvenile court workers believed that the role of the juvenile court judge is and should be unique. Tables, notes, and 49 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Juvenile judges
Index Term(s): Court personnel attitudes; Juvenile justice personnel attitudes; Juvenile justice policies; Role perception
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