California_JJ_System - Overview of the Juvenile Justice...

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Overview of the Juvenile Justice System in California A Fact Sheet Prepared by Youth Law Center What is the goal of the juvenile justice system? The California Juvenile Court is designed to handle all matters associated with juvenile law, including juvenile justice or juvenile delinquency proceedings. Juvenile delinquency cases concern charges of violations of the criminal law by a “minor.” 1 However, proceedings in juvenile court are not deemed to be “criminal”. 2 The goal of the juvenile justice system is twofold. On one hand, the system is in place to ensure the safety and protection of the public. On the other hand, the system seeks to provide care, treatment, and guidance to minors that have committed violations of the law. This treatment should be consistent with the minor’s best interest; it should hold the minor accountable for his or her behavior, and it should be appropriate for his or her circumstances. 3 This may include punishment that is consistent with rehabilitative objectives. To meet this goal, California’s Juvenile Justice System generally provides for escalating responses to offenses of increasing severity, such as fines, community service, informal probation, formal probation, detention, and incarceration. 4 How does a minor get into the juvenile justice system? If a police officer believes that a minor has committed an offense, he may take the minor into temporary custody and has the discretion to: Issue a warning and release the minor; or Deliver and refer the minor to a shelter or diversion services; or Cite the juvenile for a minor offense and issue a notice to appear; or Detain them and take the minor directly to juvenile hall. 5 In addition, a probation officer may initiate an investigation either on his own initiative or upon formal application by a person to have a petition filed against a juvenile whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a minor has committed a violation of law. 6 Does a minor have a right to an attorney? Whenever a juvenile is detained, he/she has a right to an attorney. When taken before a probation officer the juvenile and their parent/guardian must be advised of the juvenile’s right to 1 ”Minor” is defined as a person under the age of 18. 2 3 4 5 Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 626. 626.5, 626.6 ; Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 625.3 (A minor alleged to have personally used a firearm in the commission of a felony may not be released until that minor has appeared before a judicial officer). 6 Youth Law Center June 2006 Page 1 of 6
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Overview of the Juvenile Justice System in California (cont.) remain silent, right to have counsel present during interrogation, and right to have counsel appointed if the juvenile cannot afford counsel. 7
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course LS 163 taught by Professor Prof during the Spring '06 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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California_JJ_System - Overview of the Juvenile Justice...

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