Comparison of Juvenile Court in Texas and North Carolina

Comparison of Juvenile Court in Texas and North Carolina

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The two States that I did a comparison on is Texas which is where I reside and North Carolina. The reason I chose North Carolina is because that is the State that I was born in and also where my son is going to attend college. As with most states there are two main goals 1) To prevent crimes and to rehabilitate juveniles, 2) The Safety of the Public. It is up to Law makers and others to find the best ways to meet these goals. There is not a set guideline or specific procedures in the Nation for The Juvenile Justice System, so each state makes their own. Every state has their own definition of adolescent offenders and decided in different ways how they should treat them. In the State of Texas a child is considered a minor from the age of 10 yr old until the age of 17. At the age of 17 years old a juvenile is considered an adult. In North Carolina children 16 yrs and older are considered adults.
The Juvenile Justice System in the State of Texas celebrated its 100 Birthday in 1999. Many people believe that the Juvenile Justice system is equal to the adult system and that juveniles are punished as adults are but that is not always the truth. The Texas Juvenile System is made up of a mixture of the Criminal Law and the Civil Law. It is governed by The Juvenile Justice Code which is called the Title 3 of Texas Family Code. The only similarities that are shared with the Adult system are that it also refers to the Texas Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures for rules. The steps of The Court Procedures are: If a child is arrested, they are detained in a child facility, a child is not bonded out but most go before a judge. Once before the judge, it is decided if a petition will be filed depending upon the severity of the offense. The child can then make his or her pleading if the child wishes to plead not guilty a jury child can be requested. Even if there is a jury trial, only the judge can determine the punishment. The judge is also limited to the punishment that he or she can sentence because of the Juvenile Code’s Progressive Sanction Levels. This is the method which the Juvenile system uses to rank crimes.

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The levels range from 1 to 7, the lowest being a Class C misdemeanor and the highest being a capital felony. The main goal of the system is not to punish juveniles but rehabilitate them. There are several programs that the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission created to reform child offenders.
In North Carolina the first Juvenile court was established in 1868. All of the state juvenile cases were supervised by the Board of Juvenile Corrections in 1943. By 1971 the name had change to The Department of Youth Development. Juveniles in North Carolina enter the system when someone makes a complaint about he or she being delinquent. The District Court has the power to apply the laws to a juvenile. All of the proceedings are handled in the county where the offense occurred. Complaints are evaluated by a Juvenile Court Counselor who is from the Department Of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. After the complaint is viewed by the Counselor it is then decided if a petition should be filed to have the juvenile appear in court. At that time the court is ask to decided if the juvenile is considered delinquent or undisciplined. “
According to North Carolina policymakers an undisciplined juvenile is a child who is at least 6 years old but younger then 16 years old. This child is often unlawfully absent from school and is regularly disobedient to parents or guardians. The juvenile is also often found in places where they should not be lawfully and often runs away from home.” “A delinquent juvenile is any juvenile who, while at least 6 years of age but not yet 16, commits an offense that would be a crime under state law or under an ordinance of local government, including violation of the motor vehicle laws, if committed by an adult”. When the Juvenile is accused of committing a crime while at the age of 16 or 17 years old they can be tried under the adult criminal prosecution, if they are married, in the armed forces or emancipated. Juveniles who are the ages of 13 to 15 years old who are accused of committing a felony are transferred to the Superior Court and tried as adults. If a case is transferred to the adult court, then all the rights of the constitution that apply to an adult are also applied to the juvenile. In this case the juvenile can be sent to prison if convicted. In North Carolina when tried as an adult a juvenile then has the right to bail but in Texas juveniles are always released to their parents, there is no bail process.
When tried as an adult in North Carolina the juveniles record will not be protected, whereas in Texas a juvenile’s record is closed. In North Carolina after the court procedures the final decision is either a dismissal or the juvenile is held in one of the 5 facilities where they serve their punishment. After punishment as in the State of Texas a juvenile is release to their parent but they are assigned to several after treatment programs designed to rehabilitate him or her to keep them from returning to a life of crime.

References
www.doa.state.nc.us retrieved November 29, 2007
www.tjpc.state.tx.us retrieved November 28, 2007
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