Juvenile Court

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Participants

 

This page has information about:

  • Judicial Officers and staff
  • District Attorney
  • Attorney for the minor/parents
  • Interpreters
  • Juvenile Probation Officers
  • Parents or guardians
  • Public access to the proceedings and records

What court personnel are involved in a juvenile delinquency case?

The staff in the courtroom is composed of a:
  • Bailiff, who maintains order in the courtroom during the proceedings
  • Courtroom clerk, who prepares a written summary of the what has occurred in court and also maintains the paper files
  • Court reporter, who reports a word-for-word record of what has been said in court

Who prosecutes juvenile delinquency cases?

 
In the Delinquency Court, the District Attorney and his/her deputy attorneys represent the people of the State of California. These attorneys present the case against the minor accused of committing a criminal act.
 

The Delinquency Division of the District Attorney’s Office:

 2500 Fairmont Drive, 3rd Floor, San Leandro, California 94578; Telephone: (510) 667-4470.
 

Who represents the minor and his/her family?

 
The minor and his/her parents have the right to be represented by an attorney. If the minor cannot afford an attorney, then the Court will appoint one. In Alameda County, the Public Defender’s Office is normally appointed to represent the minor. If the Public Defender is unable to represent the minor because of a conflict of interest (for example, more than one minor is being accused of a crime from the same incident), a private attorney will be appointed. If at any time, the Court determines that the minor’s parent can afford to pay for an attorney, the Court may order the parents to pay the fees for the attorney. The Delinquency Division of the Public Defender’s Office is located at the Juvenile Justice Center at 2500 Fairmont Drive, San Leandro 94578.
 

Are interpreters available in Juvenile Delinquency Court?

 
The Court is required by law to provide an interpreter for a non-English speaking or hearing impaired minor. The Court needs to know as soon as possible if an interpreter is required.
 

What role do juvenile probation officers play?

 
The juvenile probation officers play many roles in Delinquency Court. When a law enforcement officer takes a minor into custody, a probation officer makes the decision whether a minor will be released. Based on the report of the police or on a crime report, the probation officer also recommends whether charges of a crime (called a petition) will be filed in the court.
 
A probation officer is present at all hearings to assist the court with information about a case as the court requests. If the minor is found to have committed a crime, the probation officer must prepare a social study of the minor, including recommendations for the care, treatment and guidance of the minor.
 
A probation officer supervises all minors who are placed on probation, either at home, in a group home, a ranch or other residential facilities. The probation department also runs and manages all local detention facilities for minors. As part of this role, the Alameda County juvenile probation department has developed many programs to help in the care, treatment and guidance of minor under their control.
 
The juvenile probation department is located in the Juvenile Hall, 2500 Fairmont Drive in San Leandro. The general telephone number of the juvenile probation department is (510) 667-4970. There you can find additional information including the name of the probation officer assigned to supervise a specific minor.  For more information about Alameda County Probation, please click here.
 

Do parents or guardians attend juvenile delinquency court hearings?

 
Parents or guardians are required to be at juvenile delinquency court hearings. The Court may use appropriate means to ensure parents or guardians are present. However, if the judge believes it is in the minor's best interest to not have parents/guardians in attendance or a significant hardship for the parents or guardians exists and is discussed with the Court, they may be excused from attending some or all of the court hearings.
 

Does the public have access to juvenile deliquency hearings and a minor’s court record?

 
Generally, the public is excluded from juvenile hearings. However, the Court may make exceptions, if the parties have direct and justifiable interest in a particular case. If a minor is charged with certain serious felony crimes in Delinquency Court, the public may be allowed in the courtroom. Please see WIC 707(b) for more specific information.
 
Although the law does allow public access in the above instance, the minor may request that the exclusion of the public and press if there is a reasonable likelihood that access would prevent the minor from receiving a fair and impartial trial. A victim may also request that the exclusion of the public and press when he/she is testifying, especially if the person was a victim of a sexual crime and under the age of 16. On the other hand, a witness can request that individuals be allowed access to the hearing to offer support during the time the witness is testifying.
 
The law on access to the minor’s court records strictly lists the people who have the right to look at certain documents. Others not specifically named in the list may ask to view the records; however a request must show the benefit to the public outweighs the harm caused to the minor, victims, witnesses, or the public as a whole. For certain serious felony crimes, the police may disclose the minor’s name if the minor is 14 or older.
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