On June 20, 2008, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that juvenile criminal defendants have a constitutionally protected right to a jury trial in the state, reversed a 1984 ruling by the same court. The court found that under the then-recently revised Kansas Juvenile Justice Code, juvenile proceedings were similar to adult proceedings and thus fell under the same state constitutional criteria mandating the right to a jury. In June 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled for the first time that mandatory life sentences for juveniles violate the constitution. In January 2013, a federal judge extended that ruling by deciding [PDF] that any life sentence for a juvenile is unconstitutional.
Learn more about legal issues surrounding juveniles from the JURIST news archive.