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Put Defendants in a Glass Box? Marin Juvenile Court Closes Instead

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on July 22, 2011 9:43 AM

California's Marin Superior Court has decided to back off from a strange plan which would have put arrested juveniles in glass boxes during their court appearances. Instead, the Marin Juvenile Court will be closed - and juveniles will now go through hearings at the main courthouse.

So why put juveniles in glass boxes in the first place? Are they fragile like some sort of prized treasure or age-old dinosaur bone?

No, it's because state budget cuts have forced Marin to eliminate security at the Juvenile Court, reports The Marin Independent Journal.

The "glass box" idea isn't the first idea that Marin has tried to implement in an effort to maintain the safety of juveniles and make sure they're able to get their day in court.

Marin County first tried to suggest videoconferencing, where the juveniles would "appear" in court via video while they physically remained at Juvenile Hall. All of the other members of the court and the trial, like the judge, attorneys and witnesses, would be at the courthouse, according to the The Marin Independent Journal.

Apparently this plan was met with a lawsuit by the Youth Law Center, who sued saying that appearing through "video" wasn't good enough - it would violate the juveniles' right to appear in court, according to the The Marin Independent Journal. Needless to say, Marin scrapped the plan.

Then came the "glass box" idea. The plan included a rectangular box, around 11' x 12' and 8' high. The box would have been made out of tempered glass, which isn't bulletproof. The juveniles would then have to sit inside the glass box during their trial.

Maybe it's no wonder that Marin has decided to scrap the "glass box" plan, as juveniles in glass boxes seems to be a bit bizarre. And, impractical. But now with the Marin Juvenile Court closed, it seems that the efficiency of the justice system may be tested: across the bay, San Francisco is planning to close 25 courtrooms, reports The Marin Independent Journal.

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