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CRM 1-499

60. Step 8—Proceeding Against a Juvenile as a Delinquent

If you proceed with a juvenile adjudication, you should anticipate a speedy closed trial that follows nearly all the same rules as a criminal prosecution. The proceeding is conducted before a district court judge, since a magistrate cannot impose jail time on a juvenile. 18 U.S.C. § 3401(g).

The juvenile delinquency proceeding itself proceeds essentially like a bench trial. Where detention may follow the proceeding, juveniles have been held to have constitutional rights under the due process clause to adequate notice, to the assistance of counsel, to the privilege against self-incrimination, and to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967). The due process clause also requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970). Juveniles do not have a constitutional right to a jury trial in juvenile court, McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528 (1971), and the federal statutes do not provide for one. The Federal Rules of Evidence appear to apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings. See Fed. R. Evid. 1101. The Rules of Criminal Procedure do not apply in any circumstance where their application is inconsistent with the juvenile statutes. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 54(b)(5).

The entire proceeding is subject to the limitations set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 5038 on disclosure of the identity of the juvenile defendant and information about the juvenile proceedings. The usual methods of complying with these limitations include filing documents in the case under seal, using the juvenile's initials or "John Doe" to describe the juvenile in any pleadings, and conducting proceedings in a closed courtroom or in chambers. See generally, United States v. A.D., 28 F.3d 1353 (3d Cir. 1994).

Upon an adjudication of delinquency, the judge has discretion to impose any of the conditions listed in 18 U.S.C. § 5037. These include restitution, probation (and conditions of probation), and official detention, but not fines. Prosecutors should be aware that there is no supervised release for juvenile delinquents. Juveniles sentenced to official detention are committed to the custody of the Attorney General. The Federal Bureau of Prisons designates a place of confinement. Juveniles adjudicated delinquent who are under 21 may not be placed in an institution in which they have "regular contact" with adults convicted of crimes or awaiting trial on criminal charges. 18 U.S.C. § 5039. There are at present no long-term federal facilities for juveniles. The Bureau of Prisons ordinarily places juveniles in state juvenile or private facilities under contract. Where possible, they are to be placed in foster homes or community-based facilities located in or near their home communities. 18 U.S.C. § 5039.

Sample forms are available on request.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 48]