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The Champion

April 2017 , Page 22 

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Moving Forward From Gault

By Casey McGowan, Whitney Untiedt, and Randee Waldman


I.   Introduction

In re Gault held — for the first time in American history — that juveniles facing an adjudication of delinquency are entitled to certain procedural safeguards under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Twenty-first century juvenile justice jurisprudence has focused primarily on the Eighth Amendment, with the U.S. Supreme Court and state high courts across the country applying the “cruel and unusual” analysis to life sentences for juveniles. Courts have held that the evolving standards of decency and the growing understanding of adolescent development require that judges adopt individualized sentencing schemes to determine the most appropriate punishment for juveniles convicted in adult court.

It is time to get back to the original premise of Gault and Fourteenth Amendment protections. This article will argue that the same reasoning courts have applied to postconviction proceedings must be applied at the trial level: Kids are fundamentally

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