Juvenile Justice/Criminal Justice

Juvenile Justice1. You are a juvenile probation officer who is assigned to the intake unit. On Friday afternoon, a 15-year-old juvenile is brought to the intake unit by a police officer for stealing clothing worth $250 from a local department store. The officer states the juvenile has been cooperative since the arrest, and the officer has never arrested this juvenile before. You check the county records to obtain the delinquency history of this juvenile. You discover that two years ago the juvenile was taken into custody for running away from home and was released to the custody of his parents. After looking at the juvenile’s prior history, you contact the juvenile’s parents. The parents do not seem concerned that their son has been taken into custody and make the remark that they expected this to occur sooner or later. The parents also tell you that the juvenile has begun to skip school but has not been arrested for this behavior. What do you do with the case? Do you petition the case to juvenile court, handle the matter informally by placing the juvenile on informal probation, or dismiss the case altogether? What factors led you to make your decision?

2. Review the concept of parens patriae and explain why some states deny juvenile offenders the qualified right to post bail. Give your own opinion about the qualified right to post bail.

3. Joseph has been taken into custody for robbery of a convenience store. He was 14 years old at the time he allegedly committed the offense. During the robbery, Joseph displayed a handgun, but the store attendant was not physically injured. Joseph committed this offense with his 18-year-old brother. Joseph has been taken into custody on three prior occasions. Two involved auto theft and the other involved possession of marijuana. Joseph was on probation when he was taken into custody on the robbery charge. He has not been sent to a boot camp or other intermediate sanction program. Using the Kent criteria for guidance, would you waive Joseph to adult court for prosecution or retain the case in juvenile court? What factors led you to waive or retain the case? What sentence do you think Joseph should receive?

4. You are a juvenile court judge in a suburban county. A case involves a 16-year-old juvenile female accused of murder in the stabbing death of her mother during an argument over curfew time. The juvenile has had one prior contact with the juvenile justice system in which she was accused of assault and received one-year probation. She completed her probation term more than a year before her arrest for murder. On the basis of the evidence you hear during the adjudication hearing, you find the juvenile guilty of murder. On the basis of the offense committed, you are allowed by law to sentence the juvenile to either a juvenile institution or an adult prison. Would you sentence the juvenile to prison or an institution? What factors most strongly affected your decision? What impact do you think the institution or prison will have on the juvenile?

Criminal Law

  1. What is vagrancy? Why have traditional laws against vagrancy been held to be unconstitutional?
  2. Consider a state law that reads as follows:
    Breach of Peace— Incitement

    • Any person who utters a statement in the presence of another person that a reasonable person would find offensive is guilty of breach of peace, a class B misdemeanor.
    • Any person who utters a statement to another person that would be found to be threatening to life or limb by a reasonable person and that would likely provoke a reasonable person to respond with violence is guilty of breach of peace, a Class A misdemeanor.


  • Does Section a violate the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause? Explain your answer.
  • Does Section b violate the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause? Explain your answer.
  • Bob buys a house that turns out to be a financial drain. If he decides to burn it down one day, and has no intention of filing an insurance claim, is he guilty of any crime? Why or why not?
  • Consider the following scenario: Rita Zenlo is a 34-year-old woman who is undergoing emotional counseling for sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Her counselor advised her to keep a personal journal, and to write about her memories and feelings. Rita found the exercise to be cathartic and wrote hundreds of pages describing in graphic detail the abuse she experienced at the hands of male relatives in the 9th, 10th, and 11th years of her life. Believing that her writings may be helpful to others who have been raped and sexually molested, Rita created a website where she posted her writings. She named the website “A Victim’s Reflection.”

    A local police officer discovered the URL for Rita’s website on a computer that had been seized during the search of the home of a man suspected of possessing child pornography. When the police checked the browsing history of the suspect, it was discovered that he had visited Rita’s site 88 times. The police reviewed her site and discovered that it contained graphic accounts of rape and sexual assault of Rita when she was a child. The police contacted Rita and demanded that she remove the material describing her rape and molestation. She refused and has been charged with violating the state’s obscenity law, which is identical to the Model Penal Code obscenity provision. Rita’s defense is that her postings are protected speech under the First Amendment.

    Discuss Rita’s defense in detail. Are her postings protected speech? Explain your answer. Include a discussion of applicable Supreme Court case(s) in your answer.