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How do juvenile trials differ from adult criminal trials?

How do juvenile trials differ from adult criminal trials? In some states, juveniles do not have a right to a jury trial unless tried as an adult. If tried as a juvenile, the accused’s case will be decided by a judge. The juvenile is not entitled to bail, and the public has no access to the trial or to information about the juvenile, the charges, the trial or the sentence.

Most states do not even define the juvenile’s behavior as a crime. The crimes are called delinquent acts, although some of the acts would be called crimes if committed by an adult. The trial is called an adjudication hearing, and a judge hears the evidence and determines whether the child is delinquent. The court may take whatever action it deems to be in the child’s best interest. The purpose of juvenile court is to rehabilitate the accused rather than to punish him or her.

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