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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

North Dakota no longer has a statutory purpose clause (repealed effective 2007), but a short purpose statement in the rules of juvenile procedure mentions “that actions must be…administered to protect the best interests of children and to address the unique characteristics and needs of children.”

N.D.R. Juv.P. 1;

Intake and diversion, 2016

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

In North Dakota, when law enforcement brings a child to a court-approved designated detention or shelter care facility, a hearing must occur within 96 hours. A petition can be filed directly by the state's attorney (DA), or can be prepared by any person, including law enforcement. Judicial referees can issue a temporary custody order concerning a child who is referred to the director's supervision or care as a delinquent.

Otherwise, when a delinquency-related or unruly complaint/petition is received, the court director or the court designee (JPO) conducts an investigation. The JPO may provide counsel and advice and divert to programs, or impose monitored conditions of informal adjustment in lieu of filing a delinquency petition when the child admits to alleged facts. Both the child and parent/s must consent to terms in the agreement that can last for up to 9 months to complete conditions.

Once a petition is authorized for judicial intervention, the judge may extend the agreement an additional 6 months, or add other terms that may include drug court (can be detained up to 2 times for up to 4 days) or other interlocutory dispositions. Parents can be ordered to participate, including payment of restitution. The judge may also set aside an adjudication, which would be similar to a diversion for a juvenile's record. 

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

In North Dakota, pre-petition diversion agreements can be monitored informally for up to 9 months and extended 6 more months with judicial consent once a petition is filed. 

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

In re R.W.S., 728 N.W.2d 326 (N.D. 2007) held that the juvenile court had a duty to exercise its discretion when youth requests removal of handcuffs during the adjudicatory hearing. The youth’s due process right to a fair trial was violated when the referee failed to exercise discretion, and deferred the decision to law enforcement.  Effective 3/1/17, a rule of juvenile procedure has since required that restraints are removed from youth prior to a(ny) courtroom proceeding unless a judge finds they are necessary. (See Rule 20. Use of Restraints in Courtroom)

Competency, 2015

In North Dakota, no statute or court rule applies directly to juvenile competency proceedings or refers application of other (adult) rules to juveniles. Although not binding, a state Supreme Court opinion stated that juveniles have a due process right not to be subjected to the adjudicative stage of juvenile proceedings while incompetent and held that the juvenile court did not violate juvenile's due process rights when it failed to order a competency hearing to determine whether juvenile was competent to proceed with the adjudicative stage because only the matter of age was raised (rather than Dusky standards).

  • 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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