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and not decrepit. Persons convicted of crime are debarred, and no one may act as a grand juror. and also as a trial juror in the same case. Certain persons are exempt from jury service, as, for example, public officers, ministers, teachers, physicians, druggists, sailors, mail carriers, express agents, railroad employees, telegraph and telephone operators, and a few others. 210. The Juvenile Court. — Until 1903 the state re
" form schools were the only special institutions in California supported at public expense for the care of children who committed crimes, or who could not be controlled by their parents. Children were sent to the reform schools or were confined in jails and the state prisons, who would have had a better chance to develop into good citizens if they could have remained free under proper supervision. As the law did not provide for this supervision, the welfare of society demanded that such children be confined, although it was evident to many people that many of them, instead of being reformed, became hardened criminals through such treatment. The legislature of 1903 enacted a law which was intended to provide for more intelligent and humane treatment of such children. The principles upon which this law was based may be stated as follows: (a) that children who break the law or defy constituted authority, because of the fact that their characters are not formed, should be treated differently from adults who act in the same manner; (b) that reform, rather than punishment, should be the aim of the state in dealing with such children; and (c) that in most cases they can be reformed more effectively by permitting them to remain natural members of society under the supervision of public officers who are responsible for their
1 Statutes of 1911, page 658 seq.
conduct, than by depriving them of their liberty. The law of 1903 has been amended by every subsequent regular session of the legislature, but it is still based on these principles. The provisions of the law as amended in 1913 will be briefly summed up.
The law applies to persons under the age of twenty-one years who are either
dependent delinquent.” Such a person is declared to be dependent who is found begging, or homeless, or destitute; whose parents or guardians are unfit to have control over him ; who frequents the company of criminals or dissolute persons; who drinks, “ habitually smokes cigarettes," frequents saloons or pool rooms, plays truant, or disobeys his parents or guardian; or “who for any cause is in danger of growing up to lead an idle, dissolute, or immoral life.” A person under twentyone is declared to be delinquent who is guilty of any act which if committed by an adult would be a crime.
To deal with dependent and delinquent children, the law provides for juvenile courts, probation committees, probation officers, and detention homes. There is a juvenile court in each county, presided over by a judge of the superior court. In every county having more than one superior judge, they select one of their number to perform this duty,' except that in San Francisco the selection is made by the presiding judge. Every county has a probation committee consisting of seven men and women, appointed by the judge of the juvenile court to serve four years without pay. Every county also has a probation officer, who is nominated by the probation committee and
1 This is required by law, but is in harmony with long-established practice in our superior courts of more than one judge; for they always apportion their regular work among themselves, one judge taking probate cases, one divorce cases, one criminal cases, etc.
appointed by the judge of the juvenile court. Certain counties have assistant probation officers, appointed in the same manner as probation officers. Probation officers and assistants receive salaries and give their entire time to their official duties. Their term of office is two years. The probation officer of each county may, with the approval of the judge of the juvenile court, appoint as many deputy probation officers to serve without pay as may be required. The supervisors of every county are required to provide a detention home for dependent and delinquent boys and girls. The superintendent, matron, and other employees of this institution must be nominated by the probation committee, approved by the judge of the juvenile court, and appointed by the supervisors. It must have no connection with the county jail," and must be conducted in all respects as nearly like a home as possible, and shall not be deemed to be or treated as a penal institution."
Cases of dependent children come before the juvenile court on complaint of parents, guardians, persons engaged in charity work, or other interested parties. When the case is presented, the court orders the child and his parents or guardian to appear in court so that the facts may be ascertained. If he has no parent or guardian, the court appoints some person to act in his behalf. The proceedings are quite informal. If the judge, after he is in possession of the facts, decides that the child is dependent within the meaning of the law, he may commit him to the care of some person or society willing to assume the responsibility; may permit him to return to his home under the supervision of the probation officer; may commit him to the detention home, or to one of the reform schools; or make any other disposition of the case that may seem advisable. It is the duty of the probation committee to inquire into the condition of any institution that offers to become responsible for such children, and to report the facts to the juvenile court.
i Los Angeles county has twenty-five assistants; San Francisco, ten, but the number may be altered by the supervisors; Alameda county, eight; and other counties have three, two, one, or none, according to law.
Cases of delinquent children may come before the court and be disposed of in the same manner as cases of dependent children; but such cases may also come through the medium of the inferior courts. When any person charged with crime is brought before an inferior court and" it shall be suggested to the judge, justice, or recorder before whom the person is brought, that the person charged is under eighteen years,” the court may investigate the age of the accused, and, if he is found to be under eighteen, the case must be turned over to the juvenile court. Here, the matter is investigated by the judge, without a jury; and if the accused is found to be delinquent, that is, guilty, the judge may send him to a reform school or to a detention home, or may commit him to the custody of the probation officer, or to the care of any society or corporation that is willing to assume the responsibility. Such a person remains under the jurisdiction of the court until he or she is twenty-one years of age, and the court may modify th original sentence at any time. If the crime committed amounts to a felony, and if the accused has been treated as a delinquent and proves to be incorrigible or incapable of reformation, the judge of the juvenile court, sitting as a committing magistrate, may order the case tried by a jury in the superior court; and if found guilty, the accused will then be treated as a criminal, that is, he will be sent to the penitentiary.
If a person between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one is accused of felony, the case takes the usual course until it reaches the superior court. Here, unless the charge is murder, the case may be turned over to the juvenile court and treated as a delinquency, or it may be tried in the superior court as a crime.1
The juvenile court has power to try, and, upon conviction, to punish by fine or imprisonment, any parent, guardian, or other person who," by any act or omission," contributes to, or encourages, the dependency or delinquency of any child.
The probation officer and his assistants and deputies constitute an important part of this machinery for the care of juvenile offenders. It is their duty to keep track of all dependent and delinquent children who are placed on probation instead of being deprived of their liberty. Whether such children improve in character during their probationary period depends in large measure upon the earnestness and efficiency of these officers. 211. County Law Libraries.? — At the beginning of
any civil suit in the superior court, either as an original proceeding or on appeal from a lower court, the party who begins the action must pay to the clerk of the court a special fee of one dollar for the benefit of the county law library. Such a library is maintained at every county seat for the use of judges, lawyers, and the general public. It is under the control of a board of five trustees, consisting of the chairman of the board of supervisors; one, two, or three
1 One should distinguish between the juvenile court and the superior court. The same judge presides over both, but they are different courts. The juvenile court considers only the cases of dependents and delinquents, and disposes of such cases as the judge sees fit, no jury trials being held in this court.
2 Political Code, 8 4190 seq.