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Juvenile Crime

IC 31-30-1  JURISDICTION OF JUVENILE COURT (CIRCUIT COURT)

As a general rule, the juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction in all cases where the person, before reaching 18 years of age, commits an offense that would be a felony or misdemeanor for an adult. In such cases, the juvenile defendant is referred to as a “child”. Proceedings are begun by the Prosecuting Attorney filing a petition in the juvenile court alleging that the child is a “delinquent child”. The offense is defined as a delinquent act, not a crime.

However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Even when the person charged is less than 18 years old, the following cases must be filed in adult court:

* When the child is at least 16 years old and is charged with a misdemeanor traffic crime (for example, Reckless Driving or Leaving the Scene of an   Accident). Nevertheless, if the charge is a felony, or if the charge is Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, juvenile court retains exclusive jurisdiction.

* When the child is at least 16 years of age is charged with any of the following:

  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape
  • Criminal Deviate Conduct
  • Robbery while armed, or resulting in bodily injury or serious bodily injury
  • Carjacking
  • Criminal gang activity
  • Criminal gang intimidation
  • Carrying a handgun without a license
  • Children and Firearms
  • Dealing in a Sawed-off Shotgun

* When the child has previously been waived to adult court.

IC 31-37-2 DELINQUENCY

A Delinquency Petition may be filed by the Prosecuting Attorney if a child under 18 years of age commits a delinquent act. A delinquent act is defined as:

* Any felony or misdemeanor crime, unless filing is authorized directly in adult court pursuant to IC 31-30-1.

* Leaving home without reasonable cause and without permission of the parent, guardian, or custodian, who requests the child’s return (runaway).

* Violates the compulsory school attendance law (truant).

* Habitually disobeys the reasonable and lawful commands of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian (incorrigible).

* Commits a curfew violation.

* Violates IC 7.1 5-7 concerning minors and alcoholic beverages.

In order to be adjudged a delinquent child under 2-6, it must additionally be shown that the child needs care, treatment, or rehabilitation that the child is not receiving, is unlikely to accept voluntarily, and it is unlikely that it will be provided or accepted without the coercive intervention of the court.

A Delinquency Petition may be filed in the juvenile court pursuant to IC 31-37-10 by the Prosecuting Attorney.  The Petition must be verified, and must give a concise statement of the facts upon which it is based.  It must include the statues giving the juvenile court jurisdiction and the statues alleged to have been violated.  It must also give identifying information on the juvenile and his/her parent, guardian, or custodian.  The juvenile court then may approve the filing of the Delinquency Petition if it finds that there is probable cause to believe that the delinquent act was committed, and it is in the best interest of the child or the public.  Once approved, the juvenile court may take the juvenile into custody, if supported by sworn testimony or affidavit.

 IC 31-30-3 WAIVER OF JUVENILE JURISDICTION

* In addition, even after a juvenile delinquency petition has been filed in juvenile court, under some circumstances the case MAY be waived or                 transferred into adult court and tried there.

* When the child is at least 14 years of age and is charged with a heinous or aggravated act or an act which is part of a repetitive pattern of delinquent    acts.  It must also be shown that the child is beyond the rehabilitation of the juvenile justice system, and that is in the best interest of the                    community that the child stand trial as an adult.

* When the child is at least 16 years of age and is charged with a felony crime relating to controlled substances.  It must also be shown that it is in the    best interest of the community that the child stand trial as an adult.

* When the child is at least 10 years of age and is charged with murder.  It must also be shown that it would not be in the best interest of the child or      the community to remain within the juvenile justice system.

* When the child is at least 16 years of age and is charged with any Class A or Class B non-drug felony, involuntary manslaughter, or reckless                homicide, unless the child shows that it would be in the best interest of the child and of the safety and welfare of the community for the child to            remain in juvenile court.

In the foregoing categories, the Prosecuting Attorney must show probable cause that the child committed the act.

In the final waiver category, waiver is mandatory.  It is when the child is charged with a felony offense and has previously been convicted as an adult for a felony or a non-traffic misdemeanor.

 IC 31-32-6 CONFIDENTIALITY/OPEN RECORDS & TRIALS

Under recent changes to the Indiana Juvenile Code, all delinquency proceedings alleging that the child committed a felony are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  The juvenile court may issue an order closing the juvenile delinquency proceedings during the testimony of a child relating to sexual matters, if necessary to protect the welfare of the child.

In all other juvenile proceedings, the juvenile court shall determine whether the public should be excluded.

Some records of the juvenile court are also available to the public pursuant to IC 31-39-2, without a court order, in delinquency cases where it is alleged that a juvenile committed a felony or has committed two unrelated misdemeanors. If the child is less than 12, the records are available only if it is alleged that a felony or five unrelated misdemeanors are committed.  Only the following information or documents in a delinquency case may be released if those conditions are met:  the name and age of the child; the nature of the offense; docket sheets; entries, summonses & warrants; delinquency petitions; orders and decrees; motions (except those involving child abuse and neglect or psychological evaluations); and the child’s photograph if found guilty.  Certain records related to psychological evaluations and child abuse may remain confidential.

 IC 31-40-1 PARENTAL PARTICIPATION & FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

If the juvenile is adjudicated a delinquent, the parents or custodians of the juvenile may be required to participate in programs of care, treatment, or rehabilitation for the juvenile under IC 31-37-19-24, and will be held financially responsible for any services provided. These costs may include those incurred by the county on behalf of the juvenile for:  attorney, institutional or foster care placement, secure detention, and inpatient/outpatient treatment or counseling. It may also include the costs of returning the child from another jurisdiction and court costs associated with the juvenile proceedings.

If the parent or guardian defaults in reimbursing the county, or fails to pay any fee required, the juvenile court may find him/her in contempt and may enter judgment for the amount due.

IC 31-37-9 INFORMAL ADJUSTMENT & DIVERSION

After a preliminary inquiry, and upon approval by the juvenile court, an Intake Officer of the Probation Department may implement a program of “informal adjustment”. In such cases, the child is not adjudged a “delinquent child”.  Instead, the case is diverted and is handled informally by the Probation Department. As part of the informal adjustment, the child may be required to periodically report to a Probation Officer, required to perform community service or other activities, and refrain from other activities. The decision of whether or not to implement a program of informal adjustment is often made before any Delinquency Petition is filed.  The child and parent, guardian, custodian, or attorney must consent to the program.The program of informal adjustment may not exceed six (6) months, except by approval of the juvenile court which may extend the program an additional six (6) months. The juvenile court may order the child or the parent to pay a program fee of $5—$15 per month to defray expenses.

IC 31-32-2 JUVENILE RIGHTS IN DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS

The Constitutional guarantees and procedural safeguards in place for the accused juvenile are essentially the same as for an adult defendant, with these exceptions: there is no right to a jury trial in a delinquency case; if the child is detained in a delinquency case, there is no bond; the third exception applies to “waiver” (giving up of the rights). In a delinquency proceeding, the juvenile has the following rights:

 

√            To know the nature of the allegations against the juvenile;

√            To be represented by counsel;

√            To have a speedy trial;

√            To confront witnesses against him;

√            To cross-examine witnesses against him;

√            To obtain witnesses or tangible evidence by compulsory process;

√            To introduce evidence on his own behalf;

√            To refrain from testifying against himself; and

√            To have the State of Indiana by the Prosecuting Attorney prove beyond a reasonable doubt that

              he committed the delinquent act charged.

The child and the parent must be informed of these rights at the Detention Hearing or the Initial Hearing, whichever occurs first.  IC 31-37-12-5

The juvenile court can appoint an attorney (Public Defender) to represent the juvenile, without any cost to the juvenile, if the juvenile desires one. If the court does give the juvenile a Public Defender, at the time of disposition the court may require the parents to reimburse the county for all or part of the costs for legal representation.

There are no jury trials in delinquency cases and the juvenile has no jury trial rights. All trials (Factfinding Hearings) are conducted by the judge, who makes the ultimate determination of whether a delinquent act has been committed, as well as the appropriate punishment.  IC 31-32-6-7

Indiana laws require an extra step before a person under age 18 can “waive” or give up constitutional or statutory rights—even if the person is 16 or 17 and committed a crime which was originally filed in adult court.  The extra step is that the waiver must be joined by an adult: an attorney for the child or a parent, guardian, or custodian of the child. Also, there should be a meaningful private consultation between the child and the adult, unless it is waived by both of them. IC 31-32-5-1,2

 IC 31-37-12  INITIAL HEARING

In Greene County, a juvenile delinquency case commences with a written “referral” in which a law enforcement agency (i.e. LPD, GCSD) states the evidence from its investigation and usually includes a probable cause affidavit. The referral goes to the juvenile probation officer for Greene County, also known as an “Intake Officer”. Indiana law requires the Intake Officer to prepare a “preliminary inquiry” before the Prosecuting Attorney can file a Delinquency Petition. A preliminary inquiry is an informal investigation into the facts and circumstances involving the child and the referral. Once the referral and preliminary inquiry stages are completed, those reports are forwarded to the office of the Prosecuting Attorney. There, a decision is made whether to file a Delinquency Petition and, if so, what offense(s) to file. All juvenile delinquency petitions must be filed in the Greene County Circuit Court.

Ordinarily, the Initial Hearing will be the juvenile’s first appearance in court after a Delinquency Petition has been filed by the Prosecuting Attorney. If the juvenile is in custody, a Detention Hearing may have already been held, or may be conducted at the same time as the Initial Hearing. At the Initial Hearing, the juvenile court will appoint counsel (Public Defender) for the child if necessary, and will advise the child and his parents or guardians of the charges, and of his/her rights in a juvenile proceeding.

If the child admits the allegations of the Delinquency Petition at the Initial Hearing, the court may proceed immediately with a Dispositional Hearing, if agreed by the State (Prosecuting Attorney) and the child. Otherwise, the Dispositional Hearing is scheduled for a future date. If the child denies the allegations of the Delinquency Petition, the court may proceed immediately with a Factfinding Hearing, if agreed by the State (Prosecuting Attorney) and the child. Otherwise, the Factfinding Hearing is scheduled for a future date.

IC 31-37-13 FACTFINDING HEARING

A Factfinding Hearing is a trial to determine the facts. There is no jury trial. The Judge of the juvenile court sits as the Factfinder and renders judgment. The State (Prosecuting Attorney) presents evidence and bears the burden of proving the allegations of the Delinquency Petition beyond a reasonable doubt. The juvenile has the right to counsel, the right to confront and cross examine all witnesses, and the right to obtain witnesses and tangible evidence by compulsory process. The juvenile also has the right to present evidence on his own behalf, and need not testify against himself.  If the court finds that the allegations have not been proved, the juvenile is discharged. If the court finds the allegations have been proved, judgment is entered and a Dispositional Hearing is scheduled. The Probation Department will be ordered to prepare a Predispositional Report that contains a recommendation for the care, treatment or rehabilitation of the child, and the appropriate participation, financially and otherwise, of the parents or guardians. The juvenile has the right to file an alternative Predispositional Report.

IC 31-37-19 DISPOSITIONAL HEARING AND DECREE

When consistent with the safety of the community and the welfare of the child, the juvenile court shall enter a Dispositional Decree that:

* Is in the least restrictive (most family-like) and most appropriate setting available, and close to the parents’ home, consistent with the best interest      and special needs of the child;

* Least interferes with family autonomy;

* Is least disruptive of family life;

* Imposes the least restraint on the freedom of the child and the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian and

* Provides a reasonable opportunity for participation by the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

Upon a finding of delinquency, the juvenile court has the following dispositional alternatives:

* Award wardship over the juvenile to the Indiana Department of Corrections: (a) until 18 if the child is at least 13 and less than 16 and commits          murder, kidnapping, rape criminal deviate conduct, robbery committed with a deadly sweapon or resulting in bodily or serious bodily injury; (b) for      not more than 2 years if: (i) the act committed was a felony against a person, or a Class A or B felony; and (ii) if the child is at least 14 years of age    and the child has committed two unrelated prior adjudicated acts of delinquency that would be felonies if committed by an adult.

* Place the juvenile in a juvenile detention facility for up to 90 days if the juvenile is less than 17 years old, or up to 120 days if the juvenile is at least    17 yeasrs of age.

* Remove the juvenlie from his/her home and place the juvenile in another home or shelter care facility.

* Award wardship over the juvenile to any other person or shelter care facility.

* Place the juvenile in a secure private facility for children licensed under Indiana laws.

* Order a person who is a party to refrain from direct or indirect contact with the juvenile.

* Order HIV testing if the juvenile is convicted of certain sex and/or controlled substance offenses.

* Order supervision of the child by the Probation Department, with the juvenile and parents to pay an initial probation user’s fee of not less than              $25.00 or more than $100.00 and a monthly probation user’s fee of not less than $5.00 or more than $15.00.

* Order the juvenile to receive psychiatric, medical or educational treatment.

* Order the juvenile to attend an alcohol or drug service program.

* Order the juvenile to surrender his/her driver’s license for a specified period of time.

* Order the juvenile pay resitution to the crime victim.

* Partially or completely emancipate the juvenile.

* Order the juvenile to perform community service for a specified period of time.

 IC 31-37-11 SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS

When a juvenile is held in detention, the State (Prosecuting Attorney) must file a Delinquency Petition within 7 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the juvenile is taken into custody. Failure to do so will result in release of the juvenile.

When a juvenile is held in detention and a Delinquency Petition has been filed, a Factfinding Hearing or a Wavier Hearing must be held within 20 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the Petition is filed. Failure to do so will result in release of the juvenile. When the juvenile is NOT in detention, a Factfinding Hearing or a Waiver Hearing must be held within 60 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the Petition is filed.

These time limitations may be extended if delay is caused by the juvenile, or other extraordinary circumstances.

IC 31-37-5-3 JUVENILE DETENTION AND CUSTODY

A juvenile can be “arrested” or taken into custody by any law enforcement officer with a court order, or with probable cause to believe the child has committed a delinquent act. The law enforcement officer is required to immediately notify the child’s parents, guardians, or custodians. The law enforcement officer may release the child to his/her parent, guardian, or custodian upon the written promise to appear in juvenile court. However, the law enforcement officer may place the child in detention if he reasonably believes that the child is unlikely to reappear, or that detention is essential to protect the child or the community, or if the child is charged with murder or a Class A or Class B Felony.

The child may also be placed in detention if the parent, guardian, or custodian cannot be located or is unwilling to take custody, or if the child has a reasonable basis for requesting detention. In such cases, the child cannot be taken to a Juvenile Detention Center or any other shelter care facility that houses others charged or convicted of crimes.

If the child is held in a Juvenile Detention Center, a Detention Hearing must be held in juvenile court within 48 hours after the child is taken into custody, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays. At the Detention Hearing, the Judge of the juvenile court has several options. He may dismiss the charges and release the child if he does not find probable cause to believe the child committed a delinquent act. He has the discretion to release the child to his/her parents, guardians, or custodians upon a written promise to reappear in juvenile court. He may also order the child to surrender his/her driver’s license as a condition of release.  The Judge of the juvenile court may order continued detention if he reasonably believes that the child is unlikely to reappear, or if the parent, guardian, or custodian cannot be located or is unwilling to take custody, or if the child has a reasonable basis for requesting detention. During detention, the child may not be released on bail.

 

 

 

 

 


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