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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78584 Find in a Library
Title: Simplified Juvenile Court Procedure - Goals, Law, Reality
Author(s): F Schaffstein
Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Contract Number: J-LEAA-023-77
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS Publication Sales
Box 6000 Department F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The option of a simplified court procedure for trying juvenile offenders in West Germany is examined in terms of goals, legal provisions, and actual court practice.
Abstract: The expressed goals of a simplified court procedure as it is presently used in the Federal Republic of Germany are to accelerate the judicial process and make the trial itself more suitable to the juvenile mentality. The intended acceleration of the trial is all the more desirable since, because of their rapid psychological development, juveniles very soon cease to make a connection between the offense and a delayed punishment. Recent expert opinion also indicates that a more informal and relaxed court atmosphere is of greater educational value than the traditional ceremonious ritual. However, an examination of the legal clauses regulating the simplified procedure reveals that the possibilities for acceleration are practically negated by the legal requirement that the 'search for the truth' must not be limited in any way. Although in the simplified procedure the presence of the district attorney and a special court clerk may be dispensed with, most of the procedures (hearing of the evidence, advising the offender of his legal rights, etc.) must be observed to protect the accused's constitutional rights. With regard to adjusting the procedure to the juvenile mentality, the possibilities are far greater, ranging from the omission of the customary robes to conducting the trial in the informal atmosphere of the judge's private office. Recent studies indicate that the judicial practice of using the simplified procedure varies greatly throughout Germany. Many judges are reluctant as they find the procedure neither speedier nor more appropriate to the juvenile's personality. Contrary to their opinion, it is argued that the simplified procedure has not been utilized to its fullest extent and that it should also be extended to young adults.
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Court personnel; Court reform; Germany; Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile courts; Trial preparation; Trial procedures
Note: This article, summarized and translated from German by Sybille Jobin, was originally published in West Germany in 1978. For foreign-language original, see NCJ-60812.
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