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NCJ Number: 68135 Find in a Library
Title: JUVENILE COURT REFORM - THE JUVENILE OFFENDER AFTER LB 620
Journal: NEBRASKA LAW REVIEW  Volume:54  Issue:2  Dated:(1975)  Pages:405-425
Author(s): T L HAGEL
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 21
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PASSAGE OF NEBRASKA'S LB 620 IN 1974 REGARDING THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM REDUCED PROSECUTORS' DISCRETIONARY POWERS AND GAVE THE COURTS MORE FLEXIBILITY IN DEALING WITH JUVENILE OFFENDERS INDIVIDUALLY.
Abstract: BEFORE PASSAGE OF LB 620, COUNTY ATTORNEYS HAD COMPLETE DISCRETION IN CHOOSING THE FORUM IN WHICH TO PROSECUTE JUVENILE OFFENDERS. CHARGES COULD BE BROUGHT IN EITHER JUVENILE OR ADULT COURT. THERE APPEARED TO BE A DOUBLE CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARD OF DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION, ONE FOR JUVENILES AND ANOTHER FOR ADULTS. SUCH GUARANTEES AS ADEQUATE NOTICE OF PROCEEDINGS AND PRIVILEGE AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION WERE METED OUT AT THE DISCRETION OF THE PROSECUTORS. LB 620'S BASIC PURPOSE WAS TO CORRECT PROBLEMS STEMMING FROM PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION TO DETERMINE IN WHICH COURT A JUVENILE OFFENDER WOULD BE TRIED. THE LAW WAS ALSO AIMED AT MITIGATING THE HARSHNESS OF SUBJECTING JUVENILES TO THE ADULT PENAL SYSTEM. PUBLIC RESPONSE TO THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS OF ENACTING LB 620 CENTERED AROUND CRITICISM OF THE NEW LIMITATIONS TO BE PLACED ON PROSECUTORS. HOWEVER, THE BILL WAS FINALLY PASSED IN APRIL 1974. THE NEW BILL REDEFINED CLASSES OF JUVENILES, ATTEMPTED TO REMOVE THE STIGMATIZING EFFECT OF THE OLD LABELS, AND REFLECTED A CONCERN FOR THE JUVENILE OFFENDER AS A SOCIAL BEING, NOT MERELY AS A LEGAL PROBLEM. HEAVY EMPHASIS WAS PLACED ON ALTERNATIVES TO THE OFTEN NARROW JUDICIAL PROCESS. COUNTY COURTS WERE GIVEN CONCURRENT JURISDICTION WITH DISTRICT COURTS OVER CHILDREN BETWEEN AGES 16 TO 18 WHO COMMITTED CERTAIN OFFENSES. MOST IMPORTANT, THE BILL LIMITED THE DISCRETIONARY POWER OF PROSECUTORS TO FILE CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST JUVENILE OFFENDERS IN COUNTY OR DISTRICT COURT. THE BILL ALSO AIMED AT REHABILITATION RATHER THAN PUNITIVE SANCTIONS, AND PROVIDED THAT IF A JUVENILE WAS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE AT THE TIME THE CRIME WAS COMMITTED, THE COURT COULD USE ITS DISCRETION IN IMPOSING A SENTENCE, AND COULD CONSIDER A WIDE VARIETY OF ALTERNATIVES. FINALLY, JUVENILES WERE GRANTED THE RIGHT TO APPEAL. EXTENSIVE FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED, AND CASE LAW IS CITED.
Index Term(s): Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile court waiver; Nebraska; Prosecutorial discretion; Rights of minors
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