Juvenile Courts & Delinquency

Law 478



Writing Experience (WE)



This course examines legal responses to minors who break the law by providing students with an opportunity to engage in learning that combines doctrine and theory with practical skills and real-world experiences. It considers jurisdictional issues (e.g., when does the juvenile court have authority to act; when and how do adult criminal courts assert jurisdiction over minors) as well as questions concerning the application of traditional criminal law rules and doctrines to offenses by minors. It explores the law that governs investigatory encounters and pretrial procedures as well as pre-adjudication processes (i.e., intake and detention) in the context of juvenile court. It examines modern juvenile court practice, adjudication, and disposition with a discussion of the right to counsel and the role of counsel for children in delinquency matters. To complement the foundational doctrine studied each week, students prepare written assignments based on an actual juvenile delinquency case file. Students engage in practice-based simulations related to the same topic, which will be the principle focus of the final hour of each class session. They will also observe several sessions of delinquency court in Durham or Orange Counties and critically reflect on their observations, addressing systemic issues and dilemmas confronting the modern juvenile court.

Intended for 2Ls and for 3Ls not simultaneously enrolled in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. It is intended to complement such skills-based courses as Trial Advocacy as well as upper level doctrinal courses in criminal procedure, family law, children and the law, and evidence.
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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