The Marshall Daily

In Re Gault, 1966
Volume 1, Issue 1 April 6, 2006

The Fourteenth Amendment

Youth Arrested for Lewd Phone Calls
On June 8 1965 at 10:00AM, fifteen year old Gerald Gault and his friend, Robert Lewis were arrested after Arizona 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 parents, who were at work at the time of the arrest. When Gault’s older brother was sent to the Lewis residence to inquire about Gerald’s

By Renee Laramie

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens 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, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

whereabouts, he learned that he had been taken into custody. Mrs. Gault went to the Detention Home where her son was being kept, and parole officer and superintendent of the home Officer Flagg told her what had happened. Gault had a hearing the next day, Justice Abe Fortas : June 9, at 3:00 in the afternoon. Gault’s fa- story/history/resources/graphic/l arge/AbeFortas.jpg ther was not present because he was out of town on business. Also, wards, Gault’s mother, Mrs. Cook did not come Officer Flagg, and the to the hearing. No one Juvenile Court Judge rewas sworn in at the hear- (Lewd Phone Calls Continued on page 2) ing, and no records were made of the trial. After-

What is Due Process?
Due process of law is the principle of the American legal system that requires fairness for people dealing with the government. Following the basic rules of the fifth and fourteenth amendments, due process guarantees a person the right to have their “day in court” if threatened by state, federal, or lo- Supreme court:

By Amy Wolf

cal governments with the potential denial of “life, liberty, or property.” The rights guaranteed by due process may exist in both criminal and administrative cases, and include the right to have counsel, right to crossexamine and confront witnesses, no(Due Process Continued on page 2) 4United%20States%20Supreme%20Court%201


I N RE GAU L T, 1 96 6


chance to face the neighbor who accused him. Also, the maximum penmembered the hearing differalty for an adult is a $50 fine or two ently. The judge resolved to months in prison. think about it and Gault was sent A habeas corpus hearing was back to the Detention Home. set up for August 17, 1965. At this Gault was released from hearing, Judge McGhee was questhe Detention Home on June 11, tioned about his actions. When the after being held for three days. Arizona Superior Court dismissed There is no record of why he was this hearing, the Gaults appealed to sent back to the Detention Home the Supreme Court. The Supreme after the hearing or why he was Court went on to award some, but not released on the 11th. At 5:00 on all of the rights listed in the Bill of the night of his release, the GaultsRights to people under the age of 18. 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
(Lewd Phone Calls Continued from page 1)

Court Vote
By Beau Nicolette

7-2 In re Gault case just settled with a vote count of seven to two voting for Gerald Gault. The seven concurring judges all stated that juvenile courts were instituted to give youths a fair chance but really these courts were hurting America’s youth. This seven to two vote makes it apparent that the constitutional bill of rights was meant for all people of America. The majority of justices have agreed for the youth of America, giving juveniles a step up in society. This day in 1967 will be remembered for giving youths equal rights and fair trials.

or property without that person have a say in the matter, in a courtroom, tice of the charges in a timely or before some other quasi-judicial fashion, right of obtaining a trial body. transcript, and the right to appeal the decision. The fundamental objective of due process is to ensure that the government cannot unilaterally take a person’s life, liberty,
(Due Process Continued from page 1)

The Majority Opinion
The court ruled in favor of the Gaults, 8-1. The majority opinion was written by Justice Abe Fortas. He wrote, " Under our Constitution the condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court. ...Due process is the primary and indispensable foundation of indi-

By Veronica Gomez

vidual freedom. It is the basic and ment was being violated. Just beessential term in the social com- cause he was a minor, does not pact which defines the rights of mean that he does not possess the the individual and delimits the same constitutional rights as adults. powers which the state may exer- This opinion ended with the expancise...." The court was in favor of sion of "fundamental fairness" to the Gaults because they saw that cases involving juveniles. In this it Gerald Gault’s fourteenth amend(Majority Opinion Continued on page 3)


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(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. /spc/udalljpgs/lsudall-small.jpg

The Dissenting Opinion
The In re Gault case centered on the Fourteenth Amendment and the due process rights of minors under the law. Did juveniles 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 81 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 “strikes a fatal blow to much of what is unique about the juvenile court system…” Justice Harlan’s decision was partly concurring and partly dissenting. To him, “The central issue here, and the principal one upon which I am divided from the Court, is the method by which the procedural requirements of due process should be

measured.” He further explains this by stating, “It must at the outset be emphasized that the protections necessary here cannot be determined by resort to any classification of juvenile proceedings either as criminal or as civil, whether made by the State or by this Court. Both formulae are simply too imprecise to permit reasoned analysis of these difficult constitutional issues.” Justice Stewart was the only one who dissented from the majority completely. In his decision, he says, “Juvenile proceedings are not criminal trials. They are not civil trials. They are simply not adversary proceedings. Whether treating with a delinquent child, a neglected child, a defective child, or a dependent child, a juvenile proceeding's whole purpose and mission is the very opposite of the mission and purpose of a prosecution in a criminal court. The object of the one is correction of a condition. The object of the other is conviction and punishment for

Jenna Nguyen

a criminal act.” 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 children. Although the In re Gault case decision seemed simplistic and straightforward at first, it demonstrates the infinite layers behind a single ruling.

The Concurring Opinion

By Virginia Marquez

Our Opinion
By Joe Wang In the opinion of The Marshall Daily, we support the ruling of the Supreme Court on the question of due process towards minors. We feel that everybody– including minors– should be entitled to the constitutional rights that make our country run as smoothly as it does. We all deserve our basic human rights. Put yourself in the shoes of Gault, wouldn’t you be enraged if you were faced with a ridiculous sentence? Also, as good citizens of the United States we should have a certain extent of trust towards the way our government is run. By electing our president, we are putting a certain amount of trust that he will nominate the best of the best for the position of a supreme court justice. Even if the justice’s actions seem to be rash at first, it is important to examine all sides of the case and see the purpose of his actions because his actions are always going to be loyal to the constitution and to the government. Therefore, keep an open mind, and do not judge before you are certain of all the details related to the story.

After the Superior Court young boy, was invalid because of Arizona and the Arizona Su- it violated the rights of due procpreme Court had denied the sum- ess. These rights are detailed in mon of habeas corpus in the case the Fourteenth Amendment. of In Re Gault, the United States Specifically, Gerald Gault was Supreme Court finally judged in denied the basic human rights of: favor of fifteen-year-old Gerald 1. Notice of the charges, with reGault. gard to their timeliness and Adolescent Gerald Gault, sat in specificity 2. Right to counsel 3. front of the third jury he has seen Right to confrontation and crossin the past two years. In June 9, examination 4. Privilege against 1964, the boy was on trial in Ju- self-incrimination 5. Right to a venile Court for the crime of transcript of the proceedings 6. speaking obscenely to his Right to appellate review neighbor, Mrs. Cook, on the tele- The court opinion of the concurphone. The Juvenile Court sen- ring members held that, "neither tenced Gault to be committed to the Fourteenth Amendment nor the state industrial school for 6 the Bill of Rights is for adults years until he turned 21. One sig- alone." The concurring memnificant fact of the unjust verdict bers of the jury stated that miof the Juvenile Court was that nei-nors should be guaranteed due ther Mrs. Cook herself nor process of the law. Gault’s father was present at the trial to testify. In addition, the earlier trial was informal, not performing any professional court actions prior to the hearing. No one was sworn at the hearing. No transcript or recording was made. No memorandum or record of the substance of the proceedings was prepared. An adult charged with the same crime would have received a maximum of a fifty dollar fine and two months in jail. After many days and another unsuccessful trial for Amelia Lewis represented Gerald Gault in the Arizona Supreme Court, the case reached Gault: the United States Supreme Court. There, the awaited ver- /madpicciotto/Gault%20Resources_fil es/image002.jpg dict was given. The ruling stated that Arizona’s juvenile code, which condemned the