J. Michael Earp
The Juvenile Court Unit prosecutes individuals under the age of 18 for offenses that would be considered criminal if the individual were an adult. This includes assaults, malicious destruction of property, thefts, drug offenses, arsons, serious traffic offenses, weapon offenses and other criminal matters.
All cases are referred to the Juvenile Unit from the Department of Juvenile Services Intake Officer following a thorough review and a recommendation for a referral. A Petition asserting the Respondent committed a delinquent act is filed in Juvenile Court to begin the litigation process. Subsequent hearings including adjudication, disposition, detention, modification, review and restitution hearings are all focused on the guidance, treatment and rehabilitation of the young person. The Juvenile Justice system is designed to balance public safety and protection of the community with rehabilitation and character development of the juvenile offender. A goal of the Juvenile system to assist the Juvenile in becoming a responsible and productive member of society. Through the Juvenile Justice System a variety of social and psychological services are available to youth found to have committed a delinquent act. Similar to other Units in the office there is a Victim Advocate assigned to the Unit to advise victims and witnesses of the status of particular cases and of services available to them.