The Juvenile Justice System of the US: Blended Sentences

The situation with John M is rather apparent as of the decision about the case. In this respect there is a dilemma whether to try this offender as a juvenile or as an adult. The main participants of the case are the judge, the offender, John M, and the injured person, neighboring girl. Their responsibilities are reckoned with their explanation of what has happened in fact, with current motives, background, actions etc. There is no jury in such types of trials. The adversary principle can be applied in the juvenile justice system due to making the process based on the direct announcements of both sides being reflected in the protocols of the process.

The Justice System of the USA is full of cases of such outrageous flow of crimes within the youngsters. Juvenile delinquency is the fact of the present days, which points out the idea of how should the society move toward the pathway of changes. Such changes are to be proved with a jurisdictional sharpness and without any but justice approach. An ambiguity of the process is a striking point for a judge in the process working out of the case. This is why it is necessary to make out the idea of the most appropriate “atmosphere” for making the sentence more concerned.

Children definitely have certain rights in terms of trials. These rights are concerned with the right for an attorney, the right for cross-examine witnesses, but due to the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, 1994 proves the idea that children cannot be sentenced before the age of eleven and the position of the judge can be bilateral in the approach of trying the offender if he/she is 14 years old (Finley, 2007). It is known that one of the claims within the society is concerned with the right of juveniles to have jury trials. Such right is observed only within adult trials. In fact, if there were jury trials within juvenile justice system, the sentences would be longer.

The point of obtaining a predisposition report is concerned with a desire of the Court to give an offender one more chance for making changes in reasoning about the situation. It contemplates not so hard crimes, such as robbery, for example. In serious juvenile crimes it has no value due to a proper attitude of rationale which is imposed by a judge. Standard of proof is another feature of the discussion. According to Martin (2005) such standard of proof is based on the preponderance of direct evidences.

This standard is helpful in civil trials. As it seen, from the current practice and from the psychological point of view the sensitive psyche of a young man presupposes the ability to be changed through the individualized treatment. Thereupon, the need for get-tough sentences is not diminished due to peculiarities in family background of juveniles and their previous actions in the field of crime.

Blended sentences are the cases when the judge is able to impose a sentence for a juvenile offender who committed serious crime, so that to provide further sentence as an adult offender (McShane & Williams, 2007). In this respect the seriousness of the crime plays a great and viable role. The Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling that prohibits the death penalty for juvenile offenders is fair due to a reason that it is, first of all, is not human. Second, every case should be grounded for an offender, and a youngster cannot fully recognize the reason for the penalty. Thus, there is no logic in death penalties for juveniles.


Finley, L. L. (2007). Juvenile justice. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Martin, G. (2005). Juvenile justice: process and systems. New York: SAGE.

McShane, D. and Williams, F. P. (2007). Youth Violence and Delinquency: Monsters and Myths (Vol. 1). New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Siegel, L. J. and Welsh, B. C. (2008). Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law (10th ed.). Stamford, Conn: Cengage Learning.

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