Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in this case, brought by Kansas Legal Services, which involved a challenge to the non-juried delinquency adjudication of a teen subject to a sex offender registration that would penalize him well into his adult years. L.M.’s attorney filed a motion asking for a jury trial, but the request was denied by the district court judge. L.M. appealed his case to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that juveniles charged with especially serious offenses who face punitive consequences such as sex offender registration should benefit from the right to a jury trial. The Kansas Supreme Court went beyond the facts of L.M.’s case, extending the right to jury trials to all juveniles facing delinquency charges. The court said that Kansas had so changed its juvenile code in recent years—from a rehabilitative to a punitive model—that the Kansas and United States Constitutions entitled juveniles to ask for a jury, rather than a judge, to be a fact finder.