Juvenile Proceedings vs. Adult Criminal Proceedings

Juvenile proceedings

Juvenile proceedings


Paul Seeman maintained responsibilities as a judge with the Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California, from 2009 to 2013. During this time, Paul Seeman also served as vice chair of the Juvenile Law Education Committee of the California Center for Judicial Education and Research.

Juvenile proceedings differ from adult criminal proceedings in a number of ways. Unlike adults, who commit “crimes” of various degrees, juveniles can commit only “delinquent acts.” Instead of participating in “trials,” juvenile offenders typically attend “adjudication hearings.”

Because juveniles do not enjoy the same constitutional rights as adults, they do not have a right to a trial by their peers. Adjudication hearings instead take place before a judge, who decides whether the juvenile is guilty and, if necessary, selects an appropriate sentence. The goal of juvenile sentences is to rehabilitate the defendant rather than to punish.

If a juvenile is found guilty of a delinquent act, the offense will be recorded and sealed. Once the juvenile reaches 18 years of age, this record is usually expunged to prevent juvenile offenses from affecting adult life in a negative way.


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