Education

University of Kentucky conference revisits landmark juvenile justice case

The University of Kentucky College of Law will host a symposium on the 50th anniversary of the Gault case, which guaranteed legal rights to juvenile defendants.
The University of Kentucky College of Law will host a symposium on the 50th anniversary of the Gault case, which guaranteed legal rights to juvenile defendants.

The University of Kentucky College of Law plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that guaranteed 14th Amendment rights to juveniles.

The conference, “In re Gault: 50 Years Later” will be held on from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the UK Law Courtroom. Registration starts at 8 a.m. To register online or get more information, see law.uky.edu/inregault.

A panel of juvenile justice experts plans to revisit the case, which established the right to counsel in juvenile delinquency cases, and review current problems facing the juvenile justice system.

The 1967 case centered on Gerald Gault, a 15-year-old taken into custody after being accused of making an obscene phone call to his neighbor. Since he was previously on probation, he was committed to the State Industrial School in Arizona until he reached age 21. However, during the proceedings lawyers found the Juvenile Court did not give adequate notice of the charges, notify parents of the juvenile’s right to counsel, or provide opportunity for confrontation and cross-examination at the hearings.

The Supreme Court ruled that while there are legitimate reasons to treat juveniles and adults differently, juveniles facing incarceration are entitled to procedural safeguards under the 14th Amendment.

At 4 p.m. Monday at the King Alumni House, 400 Rose Street, organizers will hold an event to educate youth on their rights and launch a Youth Justice Advocacy Network in Lexington. Youth ages 13-21 may register for the event by calling 859-327-3990 or emailing rrm@icj-ky.org.

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