Georgia Law Review
juvenile delinquency, children and the law, status offenses, juvenile jurisprudence
Since the United States Supreme Court's decision in In re Gault in 1967, in which due process rights were extended to juvenile delinquency proceedings which might result in commitment of youths to reformatory institutions, numerous courts, legislatures, and private study commissions have been re-examining the rights and obligations of young people in contemporary American society. In this ongoing debate over juvenile jurisprudence, perhaps no issue has provoked as much controversy as the question of whether juvenile courts should continue to exercise jurisdiction over juvenile "status offenses"--those unique forms of deviant behavior which are illegal only for minors. It is not the purpose of this article to rehearse this debate, the contours of which have been explored elsewhere. Rather, I hope to throw light on the current controversy by examining the historical genesis and expansion of the status offense jurisdiction before the invention of the juvenile court in 1899 and by showing the centrality of concern for wayward children in nineteenth centural juvenile jurisprudence.
Peter D. Garlock, "Wayward" Children and the Law, 1820-1900: The Genesis of the Status Offense Jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court, 13 Georgia Law Review 341 (1979)