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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77332 Find in a Library
Title: Constitutionality of Juvenile Court Administration of Court Services (From Major Issues in Juvenile Justice Information and Training Readings in Public Policy, P 465-474, 1981, John C Hall et al, ed. - See NCJ-77318)
Author(s): D Gilman
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Academy for Contemporary Problems
Sale Source: Academy for Contemporary Problems
,
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This examination of constitutional aspects of judicial administration of juvenile court services, such as detention, probation, and parole, concludes that separation of powers and due process requirements should prohibit management of these services by the judiciary.
Abstract: The juvenile justice system in many States allows court-related services to be administered by the judiciary due to the unique role of the juvenile court. Unlike the criminal court, the juvenile court bases its dispositions on the child's best interests and relies on diagnostic services and treatment evaluations in sentencing juveniles. The important role that social services and social history investigations play in juvenile court decisions makes it essential that these services be integrated into the juvenile justice system. Some argue that the best way to ensure the necessary cooperation and coordination of effort is to have the juvenile court control these services' administration, while others maintain that the judiciary possesses neither the special skills nor the breadth of knowledge necessary to administer social service programs effectively. More basic problems relate to judicial impartiality, conflict of interest, and the independent administration of the services. Under the separation of powers doctrine, judicial power is limited to the neutral adjudication of disputed facts and legal issues. Although this doctrine cannot be interpreted so that every governmental activity can be classified as belonging exclusively to a single branch of government, it does indicate that probation and detention personnel fall outside the legitimate scope of judicial authority. Even the parens patriae function of juvenile court should not extend to power which impinges on judicial neutrality. Executive control of social services maintains this neutrality while providing the beneficial aspects of juvenile court system. Similarly, judicial administration of court services threatens due process in that the court may prejudge facts; have informal discussions with staff regarding individual cases; and develop the institutional bias that results from a close, continuous working relationship. Juvenile court administration of probation, detention, and prosecutorial services is an impermissible invasion of the separation of powers doctrine and violates the due process clause. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Court management; Jurisdiction; Juvenile courts; Juvenile detention; Juvenile processing; Probation; Right to Due Process; Separation of powers
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=77332

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