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APUS Court Cases: In Re Gault

APUS Court Cases: In Re Gault



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Volume 1, Issue 1
The Marshall Daily
The Fourteenth

Section 1. All
persons born or natural-
ized in the United States
and subject to the juris-
diction thereof, are citi-
zens of the United States
and of the State wherein
they reside. No State
shall make or enforce
any law which shall
abridge the privileges or
immunities of citizens of
the United States; nor
shall any State deprive
any person of life, lib-
erty, or property, with-
out due process of law;
nor deny to any person
within its jurisdiction the
equal protection of the

On June 8 1965
at 10:00AM, fifteen year
old Gerald Gault and his
friend, Robert Lewis
were arrested after Ari-
zona police received a
verbal complaint from
their neighbor, Mrs.
Cook, about obscene
phone calls she had been

receiving. Gault had

previously been placed
on probation for other
crimes, so the police did
not hesitate to take him
into custody. The police
failed to notify his par-
ents, who were at work
at the time of the arrest.
When Gault\u2019s older
brother was sent to the
Lewis residence to in-
quire about Gerald\u2019s

whereabouts, he
learned that he had
been taken into cus-
tody. Mrs. Gault went
to the Detention Home
where her son was be-
ing kept, and parole of-
ficer and superinten-
dent of the home Offi-
cer Flagg told her what
had happened.

Gault had a
hearing the next day,
June 9, at 3:00 in the

afternoon. Gault\u2019s fa-

ther was not present
because he was out of
town on business. Also,
Mrs. Cook did not come
to the hearing. No one
was sworn in at the hear-
ing, and no records were
made of the trial. After-

wards, Gault\u2019s mother,
Officer Flagg, and the
Juvenile Court Judge re-

(Lewd Phone Calls Continued on
page 2)
Youth Arrested for Lewd Phone Calls
By Renee Laramie
April 6, 2006
What is Due Process?
By Amy Wolf

Due process of law is the
principle of the American
legal system that requires
fairness for people dealing
with the government. Fol-
lowing the basic rules of the
fifth and fourteenth amend-
ments, due process guaran-

tees a person
the right to
have their
\u201cday in
court\u201d if
by state, fed-
eral, or lo-

cal governments with the potential
denial of \u201clife, liberty, or property.\u201d
The rights guaranteed by due process
may exist in both criminal and ad-
ministrative cases, and include the
right to have counsel, right to cross-
examine and confront witnesses, no-

(Due Process Continued on page 2)
Justice Abe Fortas:

http://www.senate.gov/artandhi story/history/resources/graphic/l arge/AbeFortas.jpg

Supreme court:


In Re Gault, 1966
(Lewd Phone Calls Continued from page 1)

membered the hearing differ-
ently. The judge resolved to
think about it and Gault was sent
back to the Detention Home.

Gault was released from
the Detention Home on June 11,
after being held for three days.
There is no record of why he was
sent back to the Detention Home
after the hearing or why he was
released on the 11th. At 5:00 on
the night of his release, the Gaults
received a letter from Officer
Flagg regarding another hearing
that would take place on June 15.
After this hearing, it was decided
that Gault would be committed to
six years at the State Industrial
School. He will be enrolled at
the reform school until he reaches
age twenty-one. If Gault were
eighteen, he would have been
able to have a lawyer represent
him, and would have had the

chance to face the neighbor who ac-
cused him. Also, the maximum pen-
alty for an adult is a $50 fine or two
months in prison.

A habeas corpus hearing was
set up for August 17, 1965. At this
hearing, Judge McGhee was ques-
tioned about his actions. When the
Arizona Superior Court dismissed
this hearing, the Gaults appealed to
the Supreme Court. The Supreme
Court went on to award some, but not
all of the rights listed in the Bill of
Rights to people under the age of 18.


In re Gault case just set-
tled with a vote count of seven to
two voting for Gerald Gault. The
seven concurring judges all stated
that juvenile courts were insti-
tuted to give youths a fair chance
but really these courts were hurt-
ing America\u2019s youth. This seven
to two vote makes it apparent that
the constitutional bill of rights
was meant for all people of Amer-
ica. The majority of justices have
agreed for the youth of America,
giving juveniles a step up in soci-
ety. This day in 1967 will be re-
membered for giving youths equal
rights and fair trials.

vidual freedom. It is the basic and
essential term in the social com-
pact which defines the rights of
the individual and delimits the
powers which the state may exer-
cise...." The court was in favor of
the Gaults because they saw that
Gerald Gault\u2019s fourteenth amend-

The court ruled in favor of the
Gaults, 8-1. The majority opinion
was written by Justice Abe Fortas.
He wrote, " Under our Constitu-
tion the condition of being a boy
does not justify a kangaroo court.

...Due process is the primary and
indispensable foundation of indi-

ment was being violated. Just be-
cause he was a minor, does not
mean that he does not possess the
same constitutional rights as adults.
This opinion ended with the expan-
sion of "fundamental fairness" to
cases involving juveniles. In this it

(Majority Opinion Continued on page 3)
The Majority Opinion
By Veronica Gomez

or property without that person have
a say in the matter, in a courtroom,
or before some other quasi-judicial

(Due Process Continued from page 1)

tice of the charges in a timely
fashion, right of obtaining a trial
transcript, and the right to appeal
the decision. The fundamental ob-
jective of due process is to ensure
that the government cannot unilat-
erally take a person\u2019s life, liberty,

Court Vote
By Beau Nicolette
(Majority Opinion Continued from page 2)

stated that juveniles were at least guaranteed a
notice of charges, the right to an attorney, to
cross-examine witnesses, and to confront
their accusers. They were also given the right
to speak or to remain silent.The Dissenting Opinion

Jenna Nguyen

measured.\u201d He further explains
this by stating, \u201cIt must at the out-
set be emphasized that the protec-
tions necessary here cannot be de-
termined by resort to any classifi-
cation of juvenile proceedings ei-
ther as criminal or as civil,
whether made by the State or by
this Court. Both formulae are sim-
ply too imprecise to permit rea-
soned analysis of these difficult

constitutional issues.\u201d Justice

Stewart was the only one who dis-
sented from the majority com-
pletely. In his decision, he says,
\u201cJuvenile proceedings are not
criminal trials. They are not civil
trials. They are simply not adver-
sary proceedings. Whether treat-
ing with a delinquent child, a ne-
glected child, a defective child, or
a dependent child, a juvenile pro-
ceeding's whole purpose and mis-
sion is the very opposite of the
mission and purpose of a prosecu-
tion in a criminal court. The ob-
ject of the one is correction of a
condition. The object of the other
is conviction and punishment for

a criminal act.\u201d So in general,
Stewart felt that trials between
adults and children are completely
different and the rules that apply
to adults do not extend to chil-
dren. Although the In re Gault
case decision seemed simplistic
and straightforward at first, it
demonstrates the infinite layers
behind a single ruling.

The In re Gault case cen-
tered on the Fourteenth Amend-
ment and the due process rights of
minors under the law. Did juve-
niles facing criminal charges have
the same protections under the
Constitution as adults? Was the
State's effort to protect juveniles
an unconstitutional infringement
on their rights? The ruling was 8-
1 in favor of Gaults, but there
were dissenting opinions, even
from those who voted with the
majority, because this was a very
complex case. Justice Black ruled
with the concurring votes, but he
did have some qualms. He stated
that he agreed with the majority,
but felt that the ruling \u201cstrikes a
fatal blow to much of what is
unique about the juvenile court
system\u2026\u201d Justice Harlan\u2019s deci-
sion was partly concurring and
partly dissenting. To him, \u201cThe
central issue here, and the princi-
pal one upon which I am divided
from the Court, is the method by
which the procedural require-
ments of due process should be


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