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The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the U.S. government, responsible for …

2016 Annual Report of the Director

The Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S

Constitution for the United States - We the People
The number of juveniles affected by blended sentencing is not known on a national level. There is some information at the state level, suggesting that blended sentencing may result in relatively lengthy sentences. For example, in 1996 in Texas, the average blended sentence imposed for all offenses was 10.5 years, ranging from an average of 5 years for burglary to 31 years for capital murder (Texas law permits blended sentences up to 40 years). The percentage of commitments to the Texas Youth Commission that were blended sentences increased from about 2 percent in 1990 to nearly 8 percent in 1996. The addition of 16 offenses eligible for blended sentencing in 1996 led to an increase from 4.7 percent of commitments in 1995 to 7.6 percent in 1996. The majority of juveniles receiving blended sentences in 1996 in Texas were Hispanic (42 percent) and black (32 percent). Nearly one-third of those receiving blended sentences in 1996 were 14 years old or younger (Criminal Justice Policy Council, 1997). The impact of these laws on ultimate sanctions for juveniles sentenced under them will not be known for some years to come; this is an area that is ripe for research to begin.

New York Times Co. v. United States | US Law | LII / …

Many of the most serious human rights violations in the US occur in the realm of criminal justice. The criminal justice system—from policing and prosecution through to punishment—is plagued with injustices like racial disparities, excessively harsh sentencing, and drug and immigration policies that improperly emphasize criminalization. As a result, the United States …
Juvenile courts processed nearly 1.8 million criminal delinquency cases and 162,000 status offense delinquency cases in 1996 (Stahl et al., 1999). Figures and show how criminal and status delinquency cases, respectively, were handled by the courts in 1996, the most recent year for which data are available. A total of 56 percent of the criminal delinquency cases that were referred to juvenile courts in 1996 were formally handled by the court (petitioned); that is, these cases appeared on the official court calendar in response to the filing of a petition, complaint, or other legal instrument. Over the past 10 years, there has been an increase in the percentage of cases (from 47 percent in 1986 to 56 percent in 1996) handled formally for all juveniles, regardless of age, race, or gender. Criminal delinquency cases involving older juveniles, males, and blacks, however, are more likely to be petitioned than those involving younger juveniles, females, and whites or other races, respectively (Stahl et al., 1999). Arguably, formal handling of cases can be considered more punitive than release or diversion to other systems. Therefore, the increase in formal handling of juveniles who come into contact with the police or who are referred to juvenile court may be interpreted as a system that is becoming more punitive.


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For over a century, states have believed that the juvenile justice system was a vehicle to protect the public by providing a system that responds …
Proponents of blended sentences see them as a less severe option than outright transfer of juveniles to criminal court. Systems that give juveniles a suspended criminal sentence that only becomes operational if they violate the terms of their juvenile disposition, as well as ones that require a reevaluation of the juvenile after a period in the juvenile correctional system, are intended to give juveniles who commit serious offenses a final opportunity to avoid serious criminal sanctions (Dawson, 2000). Some critics of blended sentencing plans note, however, that the juvenile courts do not provide all the same safeguards of the accused's rights as do the criminal courts, even though blended sentencing can result in adult sanctions. Other critics say that blended sentences represent a procedural and substantive convergence between juvenile and criminal courts and erode the rationale for a separate juvenile justice system (e.g., Feld, 1997).

Grand Jury Indicts 13 Russian Individuals and 3 Russian Companies for Scheme to Interfere in the United States Political System
If the post–Citizens United landscape presents an existential threat to judicial independence, what can be done to stem the tide of money politicizing our courts? First off, states are long overdue to reconsider the use of judicial elections in the first place. Judicial elections were introduced in the nineteenth century as a reform, responding to concerns that judges were too closely tied to the political actors who appointed them. But with the rise of money-drenched judicial races, elected judges are now more, not less, tied up in the rough and tumble of politics. But even within elected systems, more targeted reforms can also yield significant improvements.

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The Times has published additional articles in the past 18 months that report on disparities in the criminal justice system, ranging from the race gap in many police departments to the cycle of debt caused by suspending driver’s licenses. Choose one or more from this selection of articles, and gather evidence about the disparity and its significance.

BLACK, J., Opinion of the Court

A separate juvenile justice system was established in the United States about 100 years ago with the goal of diverting youthful offenders from the destructive punishments of criminal courts and encouraging rehabilitation based on the individual juvenile's needs. This system was to differ from adult or criminal court in a number of ways. It was to focus on the child or adolescent as a person in need of assistance, not on the act that brought him or her before the court. The proceedings were informal, with much discretion left to the juvenile court judge. Because the judge was to act in the best interests of the child, procedural safeguards available to adults, such as the right to an attorney, the right to know the charges brought against one, the right to trial by jury, and the right to confront one's accuser, were thought unnecessary. Juvenile court proceedings were closed to the public and juvenile records were to remain confidential so as not to interfere with the child's or adolescent's ability to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. The very language used in juvenile court underscored these differences. Juveniles are not charged with crimes, but rather with delinquencies; they are not found guilty, but rather are adjudicated delinquent; they are not sent to prison, but to training school or reformatory.

JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court

In response to the increase in violent crime in the 1980s, state legal reforms in juvenile justice, particularly those that deal with serious offenses, have stressed punitiveness, accountability, and a concern for public safety, rejecting traditional concerns for diversion and rehabilitation in favor of a get-tough approach to juvenile crime and punishment. This change in emphasis from a focus on rehabilitating the individual to punishing the act is exemplified by the 17 states that redefined the purpose clause of their juvenile courts to emphasize public safety, certainty of sanctions, and offender accountability (Torbet and Szymanski, 1998). Inherent in this change in focus is the belief that the juvenile justice system is too soft on delinquents, who are thought to be potentially as much a threat to public safety as their adult criminal counterparts.