Davis, Scott, Weithorn, and Wadlington's Children in the Legal System, 6th

Foundation Press
Primary Subject
Children And The Law
University Casebook Series
Publication Date
eBook - Lifetime digital access to the eBook, with the ability to highlight and take notes.


This Edition has been thoroughly updated with the latest cases, statutory references, and scholarly commentary. Moreover, it includes comprehensive references to provisions of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Children and the Law. This Restatement is so new that some of it is still a work in progress, but Tentative Drafts were approved in 2018 and 2019 and many of these provisions are included in this Edition. The new Edition also includes coverage of recent Supreme Court decisions such as:
  • Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016), in which the Court held that its earlier decision in Miller v. Alabama, which prohibited a mandatory sentence of life without parole for one who, as a juvenile, was convicted of murder, established a new substantive constitutional rule and thus should be applied retroactively.
  • Ohio v. Clark (2015), which addressed the question of whether statements made to a preschool teacher by a 3-year-old victim of child abuse could constitutionally be admitted in the trial of the child’s alleged abuser. This case further interprets the Court’s Confrontation Clause jurisprudence following its 2004 decision in Crawford v. Washington.
  • Virginia v. LeBlanc (2017), in which the Court, in what may be a limited decision, held that a sentence of life without parole imposed on one who was 16 years old at the time did not violate the Eighth Amendment where state law provided for “geriatric release,” which meant that the petitioner would be eligible for parole at age 60.

The 6th edition retains the basic overall organizational structure of the previous edition, with two major exceptions. The field of Children in the Legal System has continued to expand. In response to legal developments within the core subject areas, we eliminated two chapters from prior editions—Chapter 4 (Custody) and Chapter 8 (Adoption of Minors)—which address subject matter typically covered in a Family Law course. This modification in the book’s structure allowed us to focus, to an even greater extent, on the subject areas central to courses on Children and the Legal System and to accommodate the expanding depth and breadth of developments in those subject areas. With the elimination of the chapters on custody and adoption, the remaining chapters in the 6th edition have been renumbered accordingly.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of this book, which the authors have retained in this edition, is its breadth of coverage and degree of flexibility in teaching. It deals with every aspect of how the law relates to minors, from free expression in school and other school-related issues, to private law (e.g.. torts and contracts), to the juvenile justice system (i.e., delinquency and the operation of criminal justice principles to juvenile justice), to abuse and neglect (including medical neglect), to termination of parental rights, to foster care, to the status of children as children (i.e., children’s “rights”). For that reason, the book lends itself to use in any number of courses that might be styled “Juvenile Law,” or “Youth Justice,” or “Youth and Family Law,” or, indeed, “Children in the Legal System” or “Children and the Law.” As mentioned below, the flexibility of the book lends itself to varying numbers of credit hours. The book contains a unique blend of cases, statutory materials, and scholarly commentary, including those from the social sciences in addition to law, in such a way that the teacher can draw on a number of sources in examining and teaching about any subject area covered in the book. No supplementary materials are needed; everything is in one book. The organization of the book is an important pedagogical tool as well. It is organized to flow from one area to the next as it explores the overall relationship between the state, parents, and the child, understanding, of course, that a professor in a given course might choose to skip over some parts of the material in the interest of time and coverage. It lends itself particularly to a 2- or 3-hour course, depending on the nature of the course and what the professor chooses to cover. Each course that is taught around the country using this book, whether in law schools or graduate school or even in the undergraduate classroom, will be tailor-made and suited to the particular professor’s preferences and emphases and the interests of the students.