The Supreme Court yesterday declined to disturb a ruling that a state does not deny due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution when it does not grant a jury trial to a juvenile accused of a crime.
The justices took the action only a few days after the American Bar Association, at its mid-year meeting in Atlanta, approved a new set of standards under which children would be punished commensurately with the seriousness of their offenses -- but also would have the due process accorded adult defendants.
Returning from a four-week recess, the court acted in a case from Ascension Parish, La., where, in October 1977, three youths raped two girls and attempted to rape a third. Police arrested the juveniles, who have yet to be tried. Meanwhile, they are free on bail in the custody of their parents.
They asked for a jury trial. The Louisiana courts denied the request, citing a state law that provides for children's cases to be heard in proceedings separate from those of adults, and without a jury.
The law, similar to those in 26 other states and the District of Columbia, reflects the decades-old belief that a system of juvenile justice should seek not to punish, but to reform a child who has committed a crime. By contrast, 11 states accord jury trials to juveniles.
In the Louisiana case, the youths' counsel argued that despite the theory that the absence of adversary proceedings and jury trials will aid the state's juveniles, they "are actually treated the same, or possibly worse, than adult defendants." Thus, accused Louisiana juveniles are deprived of both due process and fundamental fairness, the lawyers said in their unsuccessful petition to the Supreme Court for review of a ruling by the state's highest tribunal.
While in jail, the lawyers said, the youths "were confined in an adult penal institution which has no section or cells specifically designated to house juveniles [and] were treated in all respects as adult defenders."
Officers questioned the youths "without their parents being notified or given an opportunity to be present and without affording them the opportunity of having counsel present during the questioning," the petition said.
The $25,000 bond in which they were released was "far in excess of that customarily set for juveniles or adults charged with similar crimes who have life long roots in the community," the lawyers added. In addition, they said, they were denied "the discovery necessary to provide any type of defense whatsoever..."
With seven of the nine justices on the bench despite the bad weather, the court took other actions.
The court agreed to decide whether the protections of the National Labor Relations Act extend to members of college and university faculties who join in decision-making on hiring, compensation and promotion of colleagues, and the academic standards of their institution.
The case involves Yeshiva Univer sity in New York City, one of the more than 500 public and 100 private campuses where faculties have voted to unionize.
At Yeshiva, which is privately operated, a union called the University Faculty Association asked the National Labor Relations Board to certify it as the bargaining agent for most of the institution's schools. The university resisted, on the ground that faculty members, under the labor law, are not employes, but rather excluded managers or supervisors.
Rejecting the administration argument, the NLRB recognized a bargaining unit made up of full-time faculty members, including department chairmen, but excluding deans and acting deans, directors and all other administrative, supervisory or support personnel.
The NLRB then conducted an election at which the association, by a substantial margin, won the right to represent the unit and was certified. The administration, contesting the validity of the certification, refused to bargain even after being ordered by the board to do so. The agency then sued for enforcement.
For the 2nd U.S. Ccuit Court of Appal, Judge William H. Mulligan agreed with the board that the faculty members' "attributes of professionalism" do not turn them into exempt managers or supervisors.
But, Mulligan wrote, they have the power of "substantially and pervasively operating the enterprise" and, therefore, are exempt because of their "extensive control" of what courses are taught and who teaches them, and of the salary and tenure status of colleagues. He also stressed their "crucial role in determining other central policies," such as curriculum and admissions requirements.
In a successful petition for review, Solicitor General Wade H. McCree Jr. disagreed. Faculty members merely provide "their independent professional judgement" and, unlike typical managers or supervisors, "act on a collective rather than an individual basis," he said. Moreover, they are evaluated not on the basis of their asvice on administrative policies, but "on their competence as teachers and researchers," he said.
The justices agreed to review a ruling invalidating, on the ground that it did not pass a cost-benefit test, a strict new standard issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect 629,000 workers from leukemia as well as nonmalignant diseases, some fatal.
The standard concerns work place exposure to benzene, the 12th most widely produced industrial chemical. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the ruling, which conflicts with decisions of three other federal appeals courts on on-the-job exposure to carcinogens.
For 23 years, desegregation of the Dallas Independent School District, the eighth largest urban district in the nation, has been litigated in the courts.
In response to a 1975 order by the 5the Circuit, U.S. District Court Judge William M. Taylor Jr. implemented a plan for what was supposed to achieve effective desegreation of the district, which at the time was 41.1 percent white, 44.5 percent black, 13.4 percent Mexican-American and 1 percent "other."
But the NAACP protested on the main ground that the plan preserved or established numerous one-race schools. Last April, the appellate court ordered Taylor to formulate a new plan and "for findings to justify the maintenance of any one-race schools that may be part of that plan."
The district sought and has now won Supreme Court review of the appeals court order.
The court left standing a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Safeway Stores Inc. did not intend to discriminate against blacks when it adopted a dress and grooming code barring beards. The company was sued by Andrew Woods, a stock clerk in Hampton, Va., who grew a beard on a physician's advice, only to be fired.
Along with many other black men, Woods suffers a skin disease, colloquially known as "razor bumps," when he shaves. Growing a beard is the "cure."