Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Teen Court: A miscarriage of justice

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The article in the July 18 edition of The Gazette, ‘‘Teen Court gives youth second chance,” asks the question who started this Kangaroo Court?

Do any of the judges or for that matter the present state’s attorney, John McCarthy, have a good explanation for who used this farce to circumvent an accused youngster’s right to have an attorney present before any kind of confession?

I am not an attorney and do not pretend to be one, however, from what I have read on the subject regarding U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the court back in 1967, in its landmark case regarding young people (Gerald Gault vs the State of Arizona) made it clear that the 14th Amendment and the Bill of Rights were not restricted to adults alone.

Specifically, the Supreme Court stated that a young offender has the right to an attorney before any questioning, the right to confront their accuser and the right to protection against self-incrimination.

This Teen Court program, or whatever it is called, is a miscarriage of justice and should be abolished. I also think that the judges and yes the states attorney for Montgomery County should abide by this Supreme Court ruling or face being reprimanded.

Michael I. Mendelson, Rockville