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Gault, in re

Gault, in re (ĭn rā gôlt) [key], case decided in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Fifteen-year-old Gerald Gault had been found a delinquent by an Arizona juvenile court and sentenced to the state industrial school for up to six years for having made allegedly obscene telephone calls to a female neighbor. Under the juvenile code Gault had been denied notice of the charges, right to counsel, right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and the privilege against self-incrimination. In overturning the juvenile court's decision the Supreme Court ruled that these rights were fundamental to a fair trial and could not be denied to children. Justice Abe Fortas's opinion noted that although juvenile courts were originally set up to benefit children, the discrepancy between theory and reality required procedural safeguards.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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