Juvenile due process in Northern Illinois : an evaluation of the juvenile court
Hupfer, Bruce Alan
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This study presents an evaluation of juvenile justice in five northern Illin o is counties by determining the extent to which the juvenile court is seen by its personnel as satisfying various relevant due process requirements. The results were used to locate areas where the court rates well in satisfying the requirements or demonstrates a need for improvement. A review of the origin and development of the juvenile court and a discussion of the typical problems that have beset the court since its inception are presented to enable the reader to better understand the results. Basing the evaluation on the requirements for juvenile due process, a thorough analysis of Illinois juvenile court legislation and a review of relevant Supreme Court decisions was undertaken to determine the requirements applicable for due process in a juvenile case. A questionnaire was distributed to seventy-two juvenile court personnel to obtain the ratings of the due process requirements and to gather background data on each respondent. Using a factor analysis, four clusters of requirements were isolated that presented profiles indicating that distinct perspectives related to such variables as age, experience, education, and position play an important part in shaping the respondent’s evaluation. Further analysis showed that the court rates exceptionally well in satisfying the requirements of the right to legal counsel, the right to a notice of the charges, and the right to protection against cruel and unusual punishments. However, Improvement was found to be necessary with the requirements of the right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to appellate review, and the right to a transcript of the proceedings. The questionable policies of allowing hearsay testimony as evidence, the preadjudication investigation, and treatment before an adjudication still remain.