The Reasonable Doubt Standard of Proof in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings: Santana in the Aftermath of Winship
Shaw, William G.
Examines the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Santana, which vacated its previous judgement that the standard of proof for juvenile proceedings is the statutory quantum of preponderance of the evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt. This decision was due, the Court reasoned, to the juvenile proceedings’ primary function of assisting and rehabilitating youth, rather than the depravation of liberty, and thus rendering juvenile trials neither adversary nor criminal in nature. Following this decision, the United States Supreme Court held in in re Winship that due process required that juveniles be adjudicated using the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. The Santana decision was then vacated and remanded in light of Winship. The author questions the effect that retroactive application of Winship would have on those convicted as juveniles who are now adults.