The Supreme Court of the United States accepted certiorari to determine whether a section of New York’s Family Court Act violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The section authorized pretrial detention of accused juvenile delinquents if it was found that there was a "serious risk" that the juvenile may commit a subsequent crime.
The United States District Court struck down the statute, and the Second Circuit affirmed.
Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief arguing that preventive detention can never justify incarceration of a person who has not been adjudicated guilty of a crime, at least in the absence of a determination that probable cause exists. Moreover, secure detention in New York and many other states entails incarceration in a facility closely resembling a jail and pretrial detainees are too often mixed with juveniles who have been found to be delinquent.
The Supreme Court reversed the US District Court and the Second Circuit, and held the statute did not violate the Due Process Clause.