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Gault - A Look Back in Time

Published on 5/2/2017


Join us for a special program at The Sorosis Club, Friday May 12 from 1 to5pm on the important Supreme Court decision in establishing legal rights for children.  Space limited, rsvp to Laura Cepero at    Much of the program addresses facts not otherwise known in any written history of the Gault cases including what happened to Gerald after his parents won their case at the Supreme Court, and "the rest of the story," what happened in Gerald's delinquency case in 2014. We address the role women lawyers played in the Paul & Marjorie Gault case (in particular, illustrating particular difficulties women lawyers faced back then). We refer to the role America's first woman Supreme Court Chief Justice had in Gault and of course discuss the heroine of the case, Amelia Lewis. But we also highlight the 'unsung heroine' of the case, her connection to Anne & Margot Frank, and how her first-hand knowledge of the way the conditions of confinement affected children in Bergen-Belsen helped change legal history.  The program was the keynote presentation at the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Association of State Court Administrators in Omaha in 2015. It received a standing ovation from hundreds of family and juvenile judges at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges annual meeting in Austin.


Justice Fortas and the United States Supreme held that Gerald Gault had rights to legal counsel, to confront his accuser, and against self-incrimination. In 1964, Gerald was a fifteen year- old boy living in Gila County, Arizona when he was accused of making lewd telephone calls to a neighbor. Had he been an adult at the time, Gerald would have faced a maximum fine of $50 and two months in jail. Instead, with no lawyer and very little evidence presented, Gerald was ordered by a judge to be detained in a juvenile facility until his twenty-firstbirthday.

On May 12, 2017, come celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s In Re Gault decision. Beginning at 1:00 the Orlando Sorosis Club, retired former Gila County Presiding Judge and Presiding Juvenile Court Judge, Peter Cahill, and his former Law Clerk, Lisa Queen, will present a multimedia presentation, Gault-Looking Back in Time, that includes vintage photographs of juvenile court, photos of handwritten documents that began the habeas challenge, exhibits and transcripts from the August 1964 habeas hearings, and audio from the Supreme Court arguments.


Following Judge Cahill’s and Ms. Queen’s historical presentation, juvenile law expert, Samantha Buckingham will present an argument for the future. Prof. Buckingham is the Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Loyola Law School’s Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in Los Angeles, has written extensively on juvenile issues and has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress on several occasions. Prof. Buckingham will discuss her recent research regarding Trauma- Informed Juvenile Justice, reviewing the impact of childhood trauma on youthful offenders and advocating for the consideration of such trauma during the disposition of youthful offenders.