A History Of The Juvenile Justice System In The United States

The juvenile justice system was created in the late 1800s and was designed to punish youth offenders (History of America’s juvenile justice system, 2008). The early juvenile court system had distinctive procedures, namely : a) Diminished criminal responsibility of juveniles, explained as a lack of their physical and mental maturity, which brought a presumption about them and a belief that they were not capable of committing a crime; b) A child welfare approach, which was based on the assertion of needs by analyzing the social background of the offender, rather than determining guilt or innocence; and c) Informal or family-like procedures, which discarded the rules of criminal procedure and brought about the rehabilitative ideal. The main purpose of this ideal was to exchange trials for hearings (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011). All these procedures were based on the parens patriae doctrine, which described government’s duty to be concerned with the welfare of certain social groups, mainly orphan children (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

However, five major court cases in the history of the juvenile justice system diminished the rehabilitative ideal and parens patriae of the traditional juvenile court.

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Kent v. United States (1966): Moris Kent, age 16, while on probation, was charged with robbery and rape (History of America’s JJS, 2008). The juvenile court judge gave the case a judicial waiver after making a full investigation and rejecting his attorney’s request for a hearing on the issue of jurisdiction (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011). After Kent was found guilty in criminal court on six counts and sentenced to 30 to 90 years in prison, his attorney filed the official writ to justify offender’s confinement (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011). Eventually, after the rejection of appeal, Kent’s attorney appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it ruled for a hearing on the motion of waiver with attorney’s representation and access to all records involved (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011). The denial of basic procedural rights and absence of a full investigation were confirmed by the Supreme Court (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

In re Gault (1967): Gerald Gault, age 15, allegedly made “obscene” remarks to an adult neighbor and, after an adjudication hearing, was committed to a training school (History of America’s JJS, 2008). Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the issue on the request of justification of the youth’s confinement by his attorney, and stated that the following rights should be duly respected: the right to notice of the charges, the right to counsel, the right to question witnesses, and the right to protect against self-incrimination (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011). The court’s rejection of the parens patriae doctrine reinforced the conclusion that there had been a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment due to the lack of due process (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

In re Winship (1970), Samuel Winship, aged 12, was committed to a training school after allegedly stealing $112 from a woman’s purse in a store (History of America’s JJS, 2008). Winship was deemed a delinquent youth after the court ruled based on the “preponderance of evidence” (burden of proof), rather than the adult criminal law standards of proof beyond a reasonable doubt (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011). After reviewing the case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lower courts’ arguments and required the juvenile courts to operate on the same standards as adult courts. This was deemed essential for due process and fair treatment (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

McKeiver v. Pennsylvania (1971): Joseph McKeiver, aged 16, along with 20 to 30 other youths, allegedly stole 25 cents from three youths and was subsequently placed on probation after a jury trial was denied at the adjudicatory hearing (History of America’s JJS, 2008). The U.S. Supreme Court identified a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and procedural requirements at the juvenile court’s fact-finding stage (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

Breed v. Jones (1975): Gary Jones, aged 17, was charged with one count of robbery and faced charges for two additional robberies. His case was given a jurisdiction waiver to the criminal court (History of America’s JJS, 2008). After the juvenile court rejected the legal petition, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed a double violation of the Fifth Amendment clause and stated that the waiver could not occur after jeopardy was attached to the case (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

In addition, these cases shaped the procedures of the juvenile courts, making them more akin to criminal courts. However, the due process revolution recognized the need for a separate system and distinct approach to juvenile crime (Burfiend & Bartusch, 2011).

Randle McMurphy As A Psychopath In One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

When most people envision a psychopath, they think of mental hospitals and what they have seen in the movies, but it is much more than that. A psychopath is someone who is unstable and aggressive; they have an odd ambiance to them. In the novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, the protagonist, McMurphy, is what many people would call a psychopath. The narrator, Chief Bromden, tells the story of the chaos occurring in the mental ward. There’s a constant tug of war for power between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, the antagonist and ruler of the mental ward. McMurphy’s actions towards the nurse and fellow patients make him the perfect example of a psychopath – he is manipulative, has difficulty controlling his behavior, and is sexually promiscuous.

Manipulators use deception to cheat and defraud others for their own personal gain. They are clever and sly, and are willing to do anything to get what they want. In “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” that describes McMurphy. He is not looking to help anyone else but himself, although he won’t let anyone else know that. He makes everyone believe that his plans are for all the patients in the wards, which is not the case. For example, “Chief,” he said slowly, looking me over, “when you were full-sized, when you used to be, let’s say, six seven or eight and weighed two eight or so – were you strong enough to, say, lift something the size of that control panel in the tub room?”… “If I got you that big again, could you still lift it?”… “To hell with what you think; I want to know can you promise to lift it if I get you big as you used to be. You promise me that, and you not only get my special body-buildin’ course for nothing, but you get yourself a ten-buck fishin’ trip, free!”(189).

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Although McMurphy seems motivating, he is only in it for himself. He planted all these ideas into Chief Bromden’s head to facilitate his own escape. McMurphy exploited Bromden’s rediscovered strength and confidence for his own benefit. In addition, McMurphy was betting money on Chief’s potential to break them out, revealing his inherent gambler instincts. If Bromden breaks out, McMurphy gains freedom and money. No wonder being manipulative is a psychopathic trait. Controlling their behavior is hard for psychopaths, as there seems to be a second consciousness in their head urging them to do wild and crazy things.

An example of McMurphy’s second consciousness paying a visit is when he breaks the glass door in Nurse Ratched’s office. He is trying to irritate her enough to have her give up, so he wins. His aggressiveness has led him to do terrible things. He can’t control his need for power and he ends up almost hurting people while at it. His excuse in this moment was that he didn’t see it there since it was so clear. Not only did he break it once, but he decided that to really irritate the nurse, he should do it again. He didn’t break the glass just once, but twice. No normal person would intentionally hurt themselves and others to prove a point. If McMurphy isn’t considered a psychopath, then who is? ‘Promiscuous’ is undeniably the correct word to describe McMurphy’s sexual behavior. Being promiscuous is taking part in many sexual relationships or coercing others into participating in sexual behavior.

For example, “McMurphy, Randle Patrick. Committed by the state from the Pendleton Farm for Correction. For diagnosis and possible treatment. Thirty-five years old. Never married. Distinguished Service Cross in Korea, for leading an escape from a Communist prison camp. A dishonorable discharge afterward, for insubordination. Followed by a history of street brawls and barroom fights and a series of arrests for drunkenness, assault and battery, disturbing the peace, repeated gambling, and one arrest – for rape. ‘Rape?’ The doctor perks up. ‘Statutory, with a girl of -… With a child of fifteen. She said she was seventeen, Doc, and she was plenty willing.’” (44). Having a charge of rape on your record is not something that normal people have written on their personal record, only people like McMurphy, who don’t mind the age or what they could possibly be doing to someone.

Regardless of his excuse, this fifteen-year-old was one of many women that McMurphy has taken advantage of, which obviously proves to some degree that he is a psychopath. Another case of McMurphy’s promiscuous behavior is when they visited his childhood home after the fishing trip he went on. For example, “the first girl ever drug me to bed wore that very same dress. I was about ten and she was probably less, and at the time a lay seemed like such a big deal and I asked her if didn’t she think, feel, we oughta announce it some way?” (217). This dress that McMurphy saw in the tree represents McMurphy’s innocence. Before that day, McMurphy was a different man. Losing your virginity at ten is not a normal thing to do, even way back then. You are still a child then, and no children of that age have sexual intentions. This again proves that McMurphy is and has always been a psychopath.

To be considered a psychopath, you have to prove that you have all the characteristics of one, of which there are many. According to science, and the study of psychopathy, McMurphy would be considered a psychopath. His sexual deeds, manipulative behavior, and inability to control his actions prove to multiple people that he is a psychopath. These three unique traits he sustains are three of many characteristics he upholds of a psychopath. In conclusion, McMurphy is the perfect example of a psychopath.

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