Kent v. United States: Summary

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Majority, Concurring & Dissenting Opinions of the Supreme Court

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Facts of the Case
  • 1:31 The Holding & Analysis…
  • 2:56 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brittany McKenna

Brittany is a licensed attorney who specializes in criminal law, legal writing, and appellate practice and procedure.

In Kent v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled on the due process rights of juvenile offenders. In this lesson, you will be introduced to the facts of Kent v. United States as well as the holding and analysis of the Supreme Court.

Facts of the Case

Much like rules of the game in professional sports, the criminal justice system is composed of rules and regulations that apply to each case in order to ensure fairness and proper results. For example, a court must have jurisdiction, which is the authority to make legal decisions, over the defendant and subject matter of a given case, much like a referee must be authorized to uphold the rules of a game. Without the proper jurisdiction, a court can't make valid rulings.

In Kent v. United States, 16-year-old Morris Kent was detained and interrogated by Washington, D.C. police officers regarding a slew of robberies and other crimes. Over the course of the interrogation, Kent admitted to committing some of the crimes.

Afterward, Kent's mother hired an attorney and was prepared to help her son through his trial. Since Kent was only 16 years of age at the time, he was brought before a juvenile court judge for a series of pretrial issues. But instead of ruling on the pretrial matters, the judge waived the juvenile court's jurisdiction. In other words, the judge gave up the court's authority to make legal decisions in Kent's case.

With the juvenile court waiving its jurisdiction, Kent was set to be tried as an adult in district court. Kent was ultimately convicted and sentenced. He challenged his conviction, taking his case to the Supreme Court. The question that would be presented the Supreme Court: was the juvenile court's waiver of jurisdiction in Morris Kent's case valid?

The Holding and Analysis of SCOTUS

The Supreme Court held that the juvenile court's waiver of its jurisdiction in Kent's case was invalid. In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court determined that the juvenile court failed to properly investigate whether Kent should be tried in juvenile court or tried as an adult.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account