Juvenile Court Services

        

"The Juvenile Justice System can often be overwhelming for those that encounter it.  While it is our main function to serve the Courts, in doing so, we aim to help victims of crime, youth, and their families navigate through the process in hopes of balancing the restoration of the victims with the accountability of the offenders."  

 -Chief Deputy Chris Johnson

Juvenile Court Services - Probation
4100 Branch Center Road • Sacramento, CA 95827 • Phone: (916) 875-6868 • Fax: (916) 876-9128
Juvenile Court - Citation Hearings
4100 Branch Center Road • Sacramento, CA 95827 • Phone: (916) 875-4202 • Fax: (916) 875-4206
Juvenile Courthouse -  Hearings before Judges
9605 Kiefer Boulevard • Sacramento, CA 95827 • Phone: (916) 876-7753 • Fax: (916) 876-9016 •
  website

 

Probation is an integral part of the Sacramento Superior Courts in both adult and juvenile matters. The Department also prepares the investigative reports for both juvenile and adult offenders, which assist the Sacramento County Superior Courts in making decisions on the disposition and sentencing of offenders. Juvenile Court intake officers conduct an evidence-based detention assessment at the time of booking to determine if a minor will be detained or released.

Using a validated risk/needs assessment and information collected from various sources, officers develop an intake report prior to arraignments or settlement hearings that provide the court valuable information regarding a minor’s home life, schooling and any previous criminal history. In the report, officers make recommendations to the court for disposition (sentencing) based on the youth’s needs and public safety concerns.

Officers serve as presenters in the juvenile courtroom, ushering non-detained minors and families into the courtroom, providing last-minute case information, and researching probation issues at the court’s request. When hearings conclude, probation officers provide families and minors relevant information about the case and next steps.

Juvenile Court Services officers also work with victims of the alleged crimes, to develop the social study reports and seek restitution on behalf of the victims. Probation maintains Juvenile Court Records and manages requests for record seals

 

Juvenile Court Proceedings

The Probation Department is involved in several aspects of Juvenile Court proceedings. You and your child will be required to attend all hearings, unless your appearance is specifically waived by your child's attorney. You will receive information about hearings either in the mail or by phone.

Detention Hearings

If your child is being detained in the Youth Detention Facility, there will be a detention hearing in no more than 72 hours from their booking date, counting only court business days. At the detention hearing, the Judge will determine if the in-custody minor will be kept at the Youth Detention Facility, released without restrictions or go home on electronic monitoring or home supervision while awaiting their trial.

The detention hearing also serves as the arraignment for the minor, where the court will read the charges against your child and appoint an attorney if you cannot afford one.

After your child is booked into the Youth Detention Facility, a Probation Officer will tell you and your child the date and time of their detention hearing. If you don’t know, you can call (916) 875-6996.

Arraignments

Your child will be arraigned in Juvenile Court if they were not detained at the Youth Detention Facility and if either the District Attorney has decided to charge your child with an offense, or if during a citation hearing before a Probation Officer, it was determined the offense was serious enough that it needed to be heard by a Juvenile Court Judge. 

You will receive notification by phone and/or mail from Probation regarding your child’s court date for their arraignment.

The purpose of the arraignment hearing is to appoint an attorney for your child if you can not afford one and to read the petition containing the charges against the minor.

Settlement Conference

In Sacramento County, the next hearing is a Settlement Conference. At this hearing, the youth’s defense attorney, the deputy district attorney and the judge attempt to resolve the case without the necessity of a trial. If the youth admits guilt, a dispositional hearing generally will be heard immediately, or will be set for 10 days later. If the youth does not admit guilt the case is scheduled for a jurisdictional hearing – a juvenile court trial.

Jurisdictional Hearing

If the minor does not admit responsibility, the case will be scheduled for a trial called a jurisdictional hearing. At this hearing, evidence and witness testimony are presented to the judge. There are no juries in Juvenile Court. 

During the jurisdictional hearing, the deputy district attorney must prove the charges. Both the District Attorney and the Defense will have the opportunity to call witnesses, present evidence and cross examine witnesses. 

If, at the conclusion of the jurisdictional hearing, the judge determines that the charge or charges are not true, the case is dismissed. If, on the other hand, the judge determines that the charge or charges are true, the case proceeds to a dispositional hearing – the time when the judge will impose sanctions and treatment.  

Dispositional Hearing

A disposition hearing is equivalent to a sentencing hearing in adult court. If the judge rules that your child committed the offense, then the judge will review the minor’s social study report that is prepared by the probation department in advance of the settlement conference. The judge will hear comments from both the minor’s attorney and the deputy district attorney. The judge may then hear comments from the minor’s parent or guardian as well as from the minor. On some occasions, victims and victims’ family members may make a statement. 

The judge will decide how the minor will be rehabilitated, how he or she will repair the harm caused to the victim and the community, and what sort of sanctions are necessary. 

Conditions of Probation 

Whether the minor admits responsibility or the judge determines after trial that the charges are true, dispositions may include community service, home supervision, electronic monitoring, counseling or treatment, restitution to the victim, court fines, and foster care. They may also include commitment to the Youth Detention Facility or the state Division of Juvenile Facilities. These requirements, along with others – such as attending school, drug testing, and obeying all laws – are court-ordered conditions of Probation. 

Checking in at the Courthouse 

Parents for both in-custody and out-of-custody minors must check in at the customer service window upon arrival to the courthouse. You will receive a pager and be directed to the appropriate courtroom. The pager will be used to alert you to any pre-conference with your child’s attorney prior to a hearing. The pager will also be used to alert you to the start of the hearing. A probation officer who serves as the court presenter will page you and then escort you into the courtroom when it is time for the hearing to begin. 

There is a dress code and code of conduct for everyone who attends a hearing. Both your clothing and conduct display respect for the Court and show the Court that you take the case seriously. If attire and conduct are not in compliance with the Court rules, you will not be allowed in the courtroom, and your case will be rescheduled.  

At check in, you may receive a copy of an intake report on your child’s case to review.  

While inside the courtroom all cell phones and pagers must be turned off.  

After the Hearing

Immediately following the hearing both parents and out-of-custody minors will be directed to Window 1 – Probation. This is located in the same area as court reception. The Probation Officer at the window will provide you information on the outcome of your hearing, answer questions and direct you on your next steps. 

For more information on the courts, please visit www.saccourt.ca.gov