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No Jury, No Justice in Juvenile Cases

Posted by Unknown | Jul 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

I grow concerned that in most juvenile cases the juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial. The formal reasoning is that juvenile cases are not criminal cases, so constitutional guarantees are not applicable. Juvenile cases in Douglas and Arapahoe County are seen as civil in nature.

Collateral Consequences Make Juvenile Cases Just Like Criminal Ones

If we are talking about a simple juvenile case in Jefferson or Adams County, like shoplifting theft, disorderly conduct or fighting, I would not be so concerned. However, in serious cases like sexual assault or sexual assault on aGavel child, collateral consequences are huge. Examples of these consequences may include registration as a sex offender, having a record of being a sex offender, and incarceration in the Department of Youth Corrections.  Although technically “civil” in nature, many juvenile cases carry identical consequences to criminal cases.  In reality, these matters are every bit as serious as a criminal case and deserve the protections of a jury trial guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution.

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Judges and Magistrates Can't Match the Impartiality of a Jury

Judges and magistrates tend to look more towards safe career moves rather than justice

As much as we all want to believe a Denver judge or magistrate can be as impartial as a jury, this simply is not the case in the real world. Judges are often former prosecutors, or have been doing their job long enough to develop a bias against juveniles.  Magistrates are very sensitive to criticism as they are trying to become judges and don't have the independence which a judge can have.  Neither a magistrate nor judge can accept thousands of guilty pleas and remain neutral. Also, over time judges and magistrates learn to look for the career safe moves in deciding close cases.  Juries do not have any of this baggage – they simply dig for the truth.

No Jury = No Justice for Our Kids

Only with juries can our kids receive justice

In a perfect world, juveniles would get the justice they deserve from a magistrate or judge.  But, since we don't live in that world, it makes sense to ensure constitutional protections for juveniles by giving them a jury to decide their guilt or innocence.  Only then can they receive justice under our system of government.

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Our attorneys are experienced working in the juvenile system in Aurora, Centennial and Westminster. We understand the realities of a juvenile adjudication or conviction for your child.  Call us at 303-830-0880 for a free consultation today. Together, we can protect your child's future.Request a Free Consultation

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