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No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court.

Edward Humes, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, uses case studies of juveniles accused of serious offenses as a vehicle to travel through the Los Angeles juvenile court system - its intake facilities, prehearing detention centers, court-rooms, probation offices, youth facilities, and prisons. He reveals a system inhabited by overworked prosecutors and defense attorneys, frustrated probation officers, and sometimes despotic judges who, all too often, lose sight of both the accused and the purported injured party by engaging in litigation games and power plays.

No Matter How Loud I Shout is an indictment of the juvenile court system. Humes's message: The system, in ruins and confusion, often combines "the gamesmanship and procedural excesses of the adult system with the juvenile system's toothless lack of consequences."

Humes describes juvenile court as a mini-adult court where young offenders often avoid both rehabilitation and punishment because of underfunding and legal technicalities. His solution: Save the young status offenders through rehabilitation and counseling and impose appropriate punishment on those who continue to offend and threaten society with violent criminal behavior.

Although Humes appears to underestimate the importance of the constitutional rights of juveniles accused of offenses, he does show genuine compassion for the children whose lives he explores. He provides readers with the poetry and prose of the young people he meets as a volunteer in a writing class at a juvenile facility housing serious offenders. In this way, he gives us a glimpse into their troubled lives.

Whether raised by abusive parents or abandoned and raised by "the ultimate dysfunctional parent - the State," Humes lets us see how these young people have been transformed from "children in danger" into "dangerous children," capable of committing heinous crimes in order to fit into a gang - a family that will not abandon them or let them down.

No Matter How Loud I Shout will not teach attorneys specifics about juvenile criminal procedure or constitutional law. By focusing on youths accused of the most serious crimes in gang-infested Los Angeles, Humes's case studies are not necessarily representative of the "average" juvenile offender. Nevertheless, he captures the "feel" if not the substance of our juvenile court system. Humes provides readers a heightended understanding of the frustrations of all who are touched by juvenile crime.
COPYRIGHT 1996 American Association for Justice
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Leiner, Helen
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1996
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