Minor and Major Trouble

Examining the Foundations of a Legal System

The Incedent

A 19-year-old man by the name of Devan Black was taken into custody this Thursday at Firelands for giving alcohol to a minor. His friend, Jack Montgomery, a 17-year-old, was with Devan in the latter's car, parked in an empty municipal lot around midnight. A police officer on patrol examined the scene and decided to check their IDs, due to the 11 p.m. curfew that is in effect on school nights. When the officer peered into the car window to talk with the youths, he spotted a consumed six-pack of beer. Devan was taken into custody soon after while another officer escorted the minor home. Since the legal age is 18 to be a major, the youths will go to separate courts. Their trials will start next week.

Difference Between Minors and Majors

In situations like this, curfew and underage possession of alcohol applies to a minor. The major, however, has underage possession of alcohol and contributed to the delinquency of a minor. The major would then go to a criminal court while the minor would go to a juvenile court. Unlike one of the goals in an adult criminal case, the purpose of a juvenile sentence isn't to punish, but instead primarily to rehabilitate the juvenile so that he can go to live a productive adult life. Juveniles adjudication hearings are heard by judges because youthful offenders don't have the right to bail or to a public trial. Minors have the right to due process under the law and the right to counsel. They're protected against cruel and unusual punishment and unreasonable searches and seizures. The law recognizes that minors aren't mature enough to handle the responsibility attached to legal activities like drinking, the right to vote, or run for public office. When they become a major the gain the right to marry, bail, trial by a jury of peers, run for public office, and the right to vote.