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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

California’s purpose clause is contained within a more expansive section than other states.  The overall purpose clause retains parens patriae language and elements of the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Court Acts (1969) of the due process era.  Phrases from the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) as it applies to delinquents and wards were also noted. A delinquency-related subsection aligns with BARJ in that it mentions accountability to victims and the community, and that guidance received should enable him or her to be a law-abiding and productive member of his or her family and the community, though the concept of competency development is not spelled out.  Consistent with BARJ's system accountability, the clause mentions the juvenile justice system will act "in conformity with a comprehensive set of objectives to improve system performance", which indicates a shift toward the Developmental Approach.

Cal. Welf & Inst Code §202

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the Court Intake Officer (JPO) divided by offense.

In California, juvenile probation officers (JPO)’s screen complaints and make the decision to divert most status offenses from court involvement. Since truancy mediation programs are established by either the DA or JPO, local rules dictate who can make the decision to divert truancy allegations from formal court involvement.

Some delinquency-related allegations received by the court must be submitted to the DA within 48 hours for a decision (certain offenses or conditions, priors, restitution over $1000), but others can be diverted at the discretion of the JPO. The JPO requests that the prosecutor (DA) file a petition for delinquency to bring the matter before the judge. If not proceeding as initially alleged in the complaint for prosecution, the DA must notify the JPO of the decision, in some cases, within 5 judicial days. To divert the matter, the designated JPO negotiates terms and develops a written agreement that requires the consent of the minor and parent/s. Conditions can include placement for up to 20 days in a crisis resolution home to facilitate family treatment, up to 90 days in a shelter placement, completing a diversion program, drug and alcohol assessment and treatment, etc. Agreement terms can be extended up to a year, subject to 3 month court reviews after the first 6 months. Agreements must include requirements for parent/s participation in counseling and/or parent education programs. If the juvenile fails to participate in the designated program within the first 60 days, a petition must be filed/requested, though the JPO will make a diligent effort to proceed with diversion.

Once a petition is filed, the judge can offer similar or continued programs of supervision to divert youth from adjudication for 6 more months, or if alleged delinquent, up to one additional year. Post adjudication orders can be formally ‘set aside’ at times.

Statutory pre- & post-petition diversion time limits exist.

In California, pre-petition diversion agreements can last up to one year, though they are subject to 3 month court reviews after the first 6 months. Once a petition is filed, the judge can offer similar or continued programs of supervision to divert youth from adjudication for 6 more months, or if alleged delinquent, up to one additional year.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

In California, Tiffany A. v. Superior Court, 150 Cal. App. 4th 1334 (2007) prohibited the routine use of restraints. The disposition directed that use of restraints must be implemented on a case-by-case basis.

Competency, 2015

California case law held that the competency standard in (adult) criminal proceedings applies to juvenile delinquency proceedings. Juvenile statute affirms this, requiring that the Judicial Council adopt court rules for qualifying expert evaluators. There are additional requirements if deemed incompetent due to developmental disability.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015

Registers

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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