Policing Juveniles, Juvenile Law and Procedure


1. You are a police officer responding to a disturbance call. Upon arriving at the scene, you discover that two adolescents are restraining a younger child. The two adolescents inform you that the younger child was caught stealing a toy from a neighbor’s backyard, and they held him till you arrived. The child is 8 years old and has not had any prior contact with the juvenile justice system or your police agency. The neighbor from whom the child took the toy is not at home. The two adolescents state that they want you to arrest the boy because he is a problem in their neighborhood. The boy is crying and pleading with you not to arrest him and that he will never do it again. The boy lives about two blocks away from where the incident occurred and states that his parents are home. a. What would you do in this case? b. Which of the discretionary options discussed in this chapter would you likely follow? c. What factors would you base your decision on? d. Is it possible to satisfy everyone involved in this case? 2. You have just taken over as commander of the juvenile unit of your police department. The chief tells you that the department needs to improve its image in the eyes of the public concerning juvenile matters. In the past, the department has been accused of harassing juveniles in the community and being too aggressive with juveniles. The officers in your department generally take a legalistic – or watchman-style – approach to dealing with juveniles. The chief would like you to develop a plan to improve the image of the department as well as expand the services the department currently provides for juveniles. a. What steps would you take in this case? What types of programs or policies would you adopt? b. What philosophy or style would you urge the department to adopt to achieve the chief’s wishes? 3. The police take Amy, a 16-year-old juvenile, into custody for auto theft. Describe the differences in law and procedure between juveniles and adults at each of the following stages: detention, adjudication, corrections, and record keeping that would apply to this scenario. 4. You are a police officer processing a juvenile offender accused of committing a burglary. Describe the restrictions on the booking procedures of which you may have to be aware while processing this juvenile.

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