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Youth Justice in America

Youth Justice in America

Second Edition

July 2014 | 368 pages | CQ Press

Youth Justice in America, Second Edition engages students in an exciting, informed discussion of the U.S. juvenile justice system and fills a pressing need to make legal issues personally meaningful to young people. Written in a straightforward style, the book addresses tough, important issues that directly affect today's youth, including the rights of accused juveniles, search and seizure, self-incrimination and confession, right to appeal, and the death penalty for juveniles. Focusing on cases that relate to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the subject matter comes alive through a wide variety of in-book learning aids. 

Chapter 1: American Society, Crime, and the Constitution
The Constitution and Crime  
“We the People” and the War on Drugs: Politicians and Their Families, Athletes, Entertainers  
Criminal Justice: Not the End of the Story  
The American System of Juvenile Justice  
Chapter 2: What Is Crime?
Constitutional Limits on Government’s Power to Make Crimes  
The Structure of Criminal Laws  
Chapter 3: The Second Amendment, Youth, and Schools
The Second Amendment and Young People  
The Second Amendment and Schools  
Chapter 4: Fourth Amendment: Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
The Right to Be Left Alone  
The Exclusionary Rule  
Reasonable Expectation of Privacy  
Fourth Amendment Search  
Other Expectations of Privacy  
What Is a Seizure?  
Probable Cause and the Warrant Requirement  
Chapter 5: Exceptions Swallow the Rule: Warrantless Searches
Exception 1: Emergency Circumstances  
Exception 2: Plain View  
Exception 3: Search Incident to an Arrest  
Exception 4: Automobile Exception  
Exception 5: Consensual Searches  
Exception 6: Stop and Frisk  
Exclusionary Rule Review  
Chapter 6: School Searches
Search of Belongings  
Drug Testing and After-School Activities  
Drug Testing for All Students?  
Strip Searches  
Metal Detectors and the Constitution  
Chapter 7: Fifth Amendment: Privilege against Self-Incrimination
The Screaming Eagle  
Protections against Self-Incrimination  
Juveniles and the Miranda Warnings  
What Is Custody?  
Pull Over, Jack  
What Is Interrogation?  
The Dangers of False Confession  
Chapter 8: Sixth Amendment: Right to Counsel
The Right to Legal Counsel  
Role of Legal Counsel  
Role of the Defense  
Right to Counsel for Juveniles  
Right to Effective Counsel  
Reality of Ineffective Counsel  
A Quick Career Quiz  
Chapter 9: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
The Death Penalty Today  
The Death Penalty and Juveniles  
Turning Over a New Leaf?  
Juveniles and Life Imprisonment Without Parole  
Chapter 10: The Future of Youth Justice
The Goals of Criminal Punishment  
Record Prison Populations  
The Racial Dynamics of the Criminal Justice System  
Felon and Ex-Felon Disenfranchisement  
Gendered Offenders  
Life in Prison without Parole  
Key features


  • New cases deal with recent events such as the killing of Trayvon Martin and court rulings on strip searches at school, life sentences without parole for juveniles, and electronic surveillance.
  • New chapter on the Second Amendment.
  • “Dissenting Voices” sections provide context for minority judicial opinions.
  • Examples throughout the book are drawn from recent events in the popular culture to capture students’ interest.


  • Selections from key cases (often with young people as litigants) help students understand the American criminal justice system.
  • Easy-to-read definitions of important terms and concepts are provided in the margins to facilitate student comprehension.
  • Photos, individual and class exercises, and sources for further reading enrich the presentation and help students master key concepts.

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