In Re Gault

On the morning of June 8, 1964, the sheriff of Gila County, Arizona took into custody one Gerald Gault, without notifying his parents, after his neighbor, Mrs. Ora Cook, reported receiving a offense and inappropriate phone call from the 15 year old boy. Once his mother found out where he was, the county’s Children’s Detention Home, she was not permitted to take him home. According to Gault, it was his friend Ronald Lewis who made the phone call and once Gault heard Lewis talking on the phone in such a matter he took the phone from Lewis, hung it up, and sent him out the door. Gault was not informed of his charges, he was not given the option to an attorney, he was also not given the opportunity to question of even face his accuser. Once Gault was released from the Detention Center, the Dean center his mother a notification informing her when Gault’s hearing would be. At the hearing, Judge McGhee ruled that the boys behavior was that of an delinquent child and was sentenced to 6 years in a juvenile detention center. After receiving this sentence, his mother went to the Arizona supreme court which “vigorously cross-examined McGhee’s actions. He justified his actions by providing the 2 reasons and their basis as to why the boy was ruled delinquent. The supreme court upheld him, and her appeal, denied. She then went to the supreme court for help. She stated that Gault was not informed of his charges nor was he told of his rights to counsel, to confront the accuser, or to remain silent. She also said that she was not properly informed of the boy’s hearing and the fact that the court admitted a “unsworn hearsay testimony” and did not keep any records of the proceedings. The supreme court ruled 8-1 in Gault’s favor, stating that this was a clear violation of Gerald Gault’s 6th Amendment rights.
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