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8 St. Louis U. L.J. 59 (1963-1964)
Contributing to Delinquency

handle is hein.journals/stlulj8 and id is 61 raw text is: CONTRIBUTING TO DELINQUENCY
The juvenile court movement in the United States, inaugurated
in Illinois in 1899,1 has been characterized by quite broad and
quite vague definitions of acts which are said to constitute delin-
quent behavior.2 The juvenile court statutes of most states include
a wide sweep of derelictions, embracing murder and similar hei-
nous crimes, applicable to both adults and juveniles, as well as such
curious and ill-assorted acts as knowingly frequents a house of
ill-repute or bucket shop, habitually uses vile, obscene, or vulgar
language, or smokes cigarettes.3 For any of these and similar acts,
the underage perpetrator can usually be sent to a state training
school for a period extending to the onset of his majority; in many
instances, therefore, the juvenile offender may be deprived of
liberty for a considerably longer period than would be possible
for adults convicted of an equivalent offense.
The rationale underlying this patent unfairness is that the
treatment of the juvenile offender is not criminal in nature,4 but
rather is undertaken to restore the youth to law abiding ways in a
manner consistent with the kind of enlightened treatment that
should have been afforded by his parents. Juvenile hearings are
not synonymous with criminal proceedings in spirit, it is said,
and therefore need not measure up to them in literal standards.
Due process guarantees may be omitted in juvenile hearings if it
can be demonstrated that the proceedings, despite such omissions,
were reasonably fair and afforded some semblance of decent regu-
Numerous difficulties surround the application of the criterion
of fairness as a measure of the adequacy of juvenile court hear-
* Professor of Sociology, Los Angeles State College.
1. Laws of Illinois, 1899, p. 31.
2. For a summary of juvenile court laws, see SUSSMANN, LAWS OF JUVENILE
DELINQUENCY (rev. ed. 1959).
3. From a list in Rubin, llhat is Juvenile Delinquency? in CRIME & JUVENILE
DELINQUENCY 46, 49 (2d ed. 1961).
4. The pioneer decisions are Commonwealth v. Fisher, 213 Pa. 48, 68 Atl. 198
(1905); Mill v. Brown, 31 Utah 473, 88 Pac. 609 (1907); In re Sharp, 15 Idaho 120,
96 Pac. 563 (1908). Ruling state decisions are gatheied in Pee v. United States, 274
F.2d 556, 561 (D.C. Cir. 1959). But note Warren, C.J.: To determine whether a law
is penal or not inquiry must be directed to substance and . . . a statute that
prescribes the consequence that will befall one who fails to abide . . . is a penal
law. . . . [Elven a clear legislative classification of ,a statute as 'non-penal' would
not alter the fundamental nature of a plainly penal statute. Trop v. Dulles, 356
U.S. 86, 95, 97 (1958).
5. Pee v. United States, op. cit. supra note 4, at 559.

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