How juvenile justice worksThe juvenile court process is not public. But the basic outline of the proceedings is available through Douglas County Victim/Witness Services.
The juvenile court process is not public. But the basic outline of the proceedings is available through Douglas County Victim/Witness Services.
It starts when law enforcement refers a case to a juvenile court intake worker, generally a social worker with the Department of Health and Human Services. The worker decides whether to take no action, request informal supervision or refer the case to the district attorney’s office.
At that point, there are three options. The petition — like a criminal complaint — can be dismissed. A written agreement can be put in place in which the juvenile signs an agreement promising to meet conditions set by the court. Or the case proceeds to a juvenile court appearance, called a plea hearing.
Additional court hearings would include a status conference, where a juvenile may make an admission of delinquency before a trial, a fact-finding hearing similar to a trial and dispositional hearing, where punishment would be determined.