The Juvenile Court system was conceived and established at the turn of the century, although belated to be sure. In 1899, the first juvenile court in the United States was established in Cook County, Illinois, and within a few years juvenile court laws had been passed in each of the states. The whole philosophy was, and is, based on the concept that youthful offenders should be treated differently than adults. Of course, there are variations in the different statutes; in many states the juvenile age is under 16; in a few it is 21; and in others such as Pennsylvania, it is 18. Regardless of this detail however, the philosophy is the same, and due to the flexibility and judicial discretion intentionally built into the system, the potential for abuse is also the same. This problem will be more fully developed in other articles in this symposium.
Maurice B. Cohill Jr.,
The United States Supreme Court and the Juvenile Courts - An Overview,
Duq. L. Rev.
Available at: https://dsc.duq.edu/dlr/vol9/iss4/3