Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

With Offence-Appropriate Penalties, State’s Juvenile Justice System on the Right Track, Adelaide Now

In South Australia, children and youths under 18 who are charged with criminal offences are dealt with under the Young Offenders Act. Australia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that the best interests of the child be the primary consideration when dealing with young offenders. That legal obligation reflects [the] commonsense understanding that it takes time for a child to grow into the responsibilities of an adult. The Young Offenders Act recognises this, and its first object includes providing “for youths who offend against the criminal law the care, correction and guidance necessary for their development into responsible and useful members of the community”. The Act’s next objects recognise the community’s interests: “a youth should be made aware of his or her obligations under the law and of the consequences of breach of the law”, and “the community, and individual members of it, must be adequately protected against violent or wrongful acts”.The court, and the police, must balance the interests of the child with the interests of the community and victims. They do that by experience, and by a range of responses to youth offending, ranging from practical cautions for minor offences to full-blown trials and subsequent sentencing.

Police Treatment of 17-year-old Suspects Challenged in High Court, The Guardian

The charity Just for Kids Law argues that children under the age of 18 should be treated as juveniles in line with UN convention on children’s rights.

Fighting Truancy in Chicago Schools: A Score Card on Strategies, Chicago Tribune

Chronic truancy adjudication: Illinois law authorizes school districts to hold truancy hearings at which a hearing officer can require the student and his or her parents to improve attendance, get counseling or do community service.

Ashley Pierce

About Ashley Pierce

Ashley Pierce is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Houston Baptist University in 2010. While she was in college, she worked with a non-profit organization called Ambassadors for Christ that partnered at-risk youth with college students to serve as positive influences. During her first summer as a law student, Ashley worked in employment discrimination law with Bashen Corporation, in order to expand her horizons and see a completely different side of the legal world. During her second summer, she worked as a law clerk with Lilly, Newman & Van Ness, L.L.P., a family law firm. She will continue working there during her third year of law school. Ashley has always been passionate about helping children and families and she has a genuine interest in the intersection of psychology and the law. This year, she is looking forward to learning more about amicus work and she plans on focusing her research and writing on the "best interest" standard as it is applied to children.

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