In a juvenile case, the role of the judge is very important because of the responsibility they hold. The juvenile judge is different from a judge in an adult case because the way a juvenile case is handled is different from other types of cases. The juvenile judge has decisions to make that are going to affect you in a big way. You should know about the role of a juvenile judge before you go through the court system so you can be prepared and know what to expect.
A juvenile judge will hear the case of anyone accused of an offense who is under the age of 18. In most adult criminal cases, juries determine a defendant’s guilt or innocence. In a juvenile case, a judge will determine whether the juvenile is guilty or innocent, as well as the appropriate punishments. A juvenile court judge in a criminal case can take other factors into consideration like the age they were when the crime was committed, their life at home, and their behavior in school. If any of these things give the judge reason to make a punishment more or less severe, they can if they feel it is necessary.
A dependency case will give the judge a different role. In this type of case, the parent of a child will have been charged with mistreating a child by neglecting or abusing the child. A complaint will usually be filed with child welfare services. The judge then listens to all evidence presented and makes a decision as to whether or not the parent is guilty or innocent of the crime they have been accused of. If they are found guilty, the judge can order the parent to go through counseling or a similar service. The judge can also have the child placed into foster care if they see that the parent is not completely capable of giving the child appropriate care.
Juvenile vs. Adult Court
A juvenile court does not have a jury unlike an adult court. This gives the judge all the responsibility for determining the sentence or the crime that the juvenile has committed. They get to base their decision on all of the evidence that has been presented to them during the process by the attorneys and witnesses. The judge can then decide if the juvenile will complete community service, counseling, or get some form of treatment along with serving some jail time in the juvenile detention center.
A juvenile judge’s role is not the same as a judge in an adult court. The system is run differently than a regular court so the judge has to make up for the differences. It is important that you know the role of the judge that you are about to face so you won’t be blindsided by anything that you were not aware was going to happen. Your attorney will likely fill you in on what is going to happen in court. If you need help understanding the role of a juvenile court judge, an attorney can assist you.