In Re Gault,387 U.S.1(1967), " There are rights granted to adults which are withheld from juveniles. But, under our Constitution, the condition of a boy does not justify a kangaroo court."
In 1964, a 15 year old boy, Gerald Gault was arrested when a neighbor complained of receiving an indecent phone call. No one told the 15year olds parents that he was in jail. He was not allowed to see a lawyer. The next day he was brought before a judge, no evidence presented, no witnesses testify, no record is made of the hearing. If an adult, he would receive a maximum fine of $50.00 and 2 months in jail. Gerald is sentenced to 6 years, in reform school. In the state of Arizona where this took place there is no appeals in juvenile cases.
In 1967 the Supreme Court heard this case. Judge Fortas, stated that...." due process of law is the primary and indispensable foundation of individual freedom (Amendment XIV).
In re Gault requires that due process rights of notice, counsel, cross-examination and the right against self-incrimination must be provided to children facing delinquency dispositions in the Juvenile Court system.
The state of Michigan vs Nathaniel Abraham:
This trial of Nathaniel Abraham, a 13 year old being charged as an adult for the first-degree murder under a 1997 Michigan law that sets no age minimum age for the prosecution of children as adults.
Nathaniel was only 11years old at the time of the shooting death of Ronnie Green on October 29,1997. His attorneys argued, in vain ,that he was functioning at the time at the level of a six to eight year old. The state said they had no evidence to substantiate their charges.