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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

North Carolina has purpose clauses related to undisciplined and delinquent juveniles to implement purposes and policies, and another for dispositions.  They include due process elements and language from the disposition purpose particularly aligns with BARJ, as it mentions promoting public safety, accountability, and consequences and rehabilitation to help the juvenile become a nonoffending, responsible, and productive member of the community.

NC ST §7B-1500; §7B-2500

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the juvenile court intake officer.

In North Carolina, law enforcement officers (LEO's) can take temporary custody of alleged delinquent youth for up to 12 hours (or 24 if a holiday/weekend) until an (transport) order is entered when the juvenile is not released.  JPO's can take custody of delinquent youth after an emergency custody authorization is obtained, which can be approved by a magistrate who accepts the petition from the JPO. Similarly, LEO's and Juvenile Court Counselors (JPO)'s can take custody of youth alleged undisciplined. If youth abscond from residential, treatment, or detention facility, more (specified) facility staffs are permitted to take custody of youth, which is unusual among states.  A hearing must be heard within 5 days for secure and 7 days for non-secure custody if the juvenile is not released.

Otherwise, the Juvenile Court Counselor (JPO) receives complaints for screening. The chief court counselor establishes intake services in each judicial district of the state for all delinquency and undisciplined cases.  The JPO can request consultation with the prosecutor to review whether there is legal sufficiency for more serious non-divertable offenses, but otherwise makes the decision to: resolve the matter with no further action, enter into a ‘diversion contract’ with the juvenile and parent, or authorize filing the petition. When the JPO recommends closure or diversion, the prosecutor (DA) has 20 days to review the determination and may direct filing the petition within that timeframe. Other complainants are notified by the JPO of the decision and have 5 days to request that the DA review the matter and file a petition to bring the matter before the judge.  Next, the diversion contract is written by JPO with the juvenile and parent and forwarded to the DA. The JPO must also submit a 60-day “compliance determination” to the DA for review. Unless the DA files a petition within 20 days of either submission, the JPO can monitor the juvenile up to 6 months without involving the court. Upon successful completion of the diversion contract as determined by JPO, the petition cannot be filed. Diversion plans and contracts are destroyed (the longer of) at age 18 or when the juvenile is no longer under the jurisdiction of the court.

Once the petition is filed by the prosecutor, the DA has discretion to dismiss allegations in writing or in court.  Statutory sections mention dispositional alternatives for undisciplined youth, who can be placed under the protective supervision of JPO for 3 months (and extended 3 more). Dispositional alternatives for delinquent youth have the same limits as other dispositions, such as 1 year of probation plus a 1 year extension. 

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

In North Carolina, pre-petition court diversion agreements can be monitored informally for up to 6 months.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by legislature

North Carolina statute § 7b–2402.1. requires that the judge may only subject a juvenile to physical restraint in the courtroom when necessary to maintain order, prevent escape, or provide for the safety of the courtroom. ‘Whenever practical’ the judge shall provide the juvenile and the juvenile's attorney an opportunity to be heard (to contest) before ordering the use of restraints. If restraints are ordered, the judge shall make findings of fact in support of the order.

Competency, 2015

In North Carolina, the juvenile code (of statutes) mandates that juveniles alleged delinquent are subject to (adult) criminal procedure for determination of incapacity. Criminal Procedure has an article devoted to procedures related to “incapacity to proceed”.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


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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