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The Juvenile Courts handle cases of children under 18 years of age who violate any law, or any children who are abused or neglected.

Juvenile Cases

The juvenile court has exclusive original jurisdiction over:

All delinquent minors (under 18 years old) wherein the minor is alleged to have committed an act which act would be criminal if he/she were an adult.

All minors who are alleged to have been neglected or abused by their parent or guardian, by either commission or omission.

All incorrigible minors, e.g., beyond the control of parents, chronic truants, runaways, disobedient to lawful parent rules, etc.

As a matter of law and judicial philosophy, our job in Juvenile Court is to "protect" - protect the minor from him/herself and from others, and protect the community from minors who pose a threat to the persons or property of others. Rehabilitation of the minor is a major thrust of our job, even when we give the minor some "therapeutic" detention.

Juvenile matters are confidential and many proceedings are not open to the public. Juvenile records are confidential and can only be released to officers of the court, specific agencies or by order of the Presiding Judge. Due to the confidentiality of juvenile records, information cannot be given out over the telephone.

Juvenile Delinquency

The Welfare and Institutions Code, starting at section 602, describes the Court's jurisdiction over misdemeanors and felonies committed by minors (persons under 18 years of age.) For certain serious crimes, the law currently provides the possibility of trying juveniles as adults in the Adult Criminal Court.

Parents or guardians have the right to receive a copy of the delinquency petition, stating the delinquent acts the child is accused of committing. The petition does not prove that the minor committed these acts and there will be opportunities at court hearings to present evidence regarding the minor's involvement in the alleged criminal acts.

For those who cannot afford legal representation for their children, the Court will appoint an attorney. Please note that this attorney represents the child only and will not represent the parents or guardians.

If a minor becomes a ward of the Delinquency Court, the Court will make orders for the parents or guardians and the minor. The minor may be allowed to live in the parents' or guardians' home under Court supervision or may be placed outside of the home in an unlocked or locked facility. The factors that the Court will consider in making this determination include the child's age, the seriousness of the offense, and the history of delinquency.

First appearances by out-of-custody minors and their parents concerning juvenile petitions and all other hearings in Delinquency Cases (change of plea, readiness for jurisdictional hearings, change of plea, dispositional hearings, transfer-in hearings) will be heard at 2:00 PM on the dates shown in the calendar at left.

Juvenile Delinquency Orientation

This 13-minute video is designed to help youth, their parents, and victims of juvenile crime understand delinquency court.

Juvenile Dependency

The California Welfare and Institutions Code, starting at section 300, sets forth the legal requirements, processes and objectives for Dependency Court. Dependency matters are filed with the Court when there are reports that children have been abandoned, abused or neglected by their parent(s) or legal guardian. Dependency cases are also filed with the Court when parents or legal guardians are unable or unwilling to care for their children.

The objectives of Dependency Court are to:

Protect the health and safety of minor children;
Preserve families, whenever possible;
Provide placement of children with a relative, foster family, group home or an adoptive parent if it is determined to be in their best interest.

All juvenile dependency matters (other than evidentiary hearings) will be heard in the afternoon at 2:00 PM on the dates shown in the calendar at left. Detention Hearings and other short notice matters will continue to be heard as needed, when needed, if waiting until the next Dependency date would violate time rules. Evidentiary hearings will continue to be specially set.

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