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Participants in Juvenile Justice Cases

This page tells you about:

  1. Who are the people that work in Juvenile Justice Court?
  2. Who prosecutes a Juvenile Justice case?
  3. Can minors and their parents have a lawyer?
  4. Can I have an interpreter?
  5. What do Juvenile Probation Officers do?
  6. Do parents or guardians go to Juvenile Justice hearings?
  7. Can other people see a minor’s records or go to the hearing?
  1. Who are the people that work in Juvenile Justice Court?

    In Juvenile Justice Court, you will find a:

    • Judge: The Judge decides if a minor committed a crime and what care, treatment and guidance the minor will get.
    • Bailiff: The Bailiff keeps order in the court during the hearings.
    • Clerk: The Clerk writes a summary of what happened in court and keeps the court files.
    • Court reporter: The court reporter writes down, word-for-word, what is said in court.

    Click here for the page with the Juvenile Justice judge’s names and the Court’s phone numbers.

  2. Who prosecutes a Juvenile Justice case?

    The District Attorney (DA) prosecutes the case for the State of California. They present the case against a minor who is accused of a criminal act.
    You can contact the DA at:

    District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Division
    70 West Hedding St.
    West Wing, 7th Floor
    San Jose, CA 95110
    Phone: (408) 792-2911 

  3. Can minors and their parents have a lawyer?

    Minors and their parents have the right to have a lawyer. If they can’t pay for a lawyer, the Court will give them one. In Santa Clara, the Public Defender’s Office usually represents the minor. If the Public Defender can’t for some reason (like for example if more than one minor is involved in the same case), the Court will give them a private lawyer.

    If, at any time, the Court decides that the minor’s parent can pay for a lawyer, the Court can order the parents to pay the lawyer’s fees.

    You can contact the Public Defender at:

    Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Justice Division
    120 West Mission St.
    San Jose, CA 95110
    Phone: (408) 299-7040 

  4. Can I have an interpreter?

    The Court HAS TO give an interpreter to the minor if the minor doesn’t speak English or is hearing impaired. Tell the Court as soon as possible if you have trouble understanding what is said in court.

  5. What do Juvenile Probation Officers do?

    Juvenile Probation Officers do many things in Justice Court. At first, when a police officer arrests a minor (called taking into custody), a Probation Officer decides whether to release the minor or not. Then, they look at the police report or crime report. Based on that report, they suggest to the DA if they should file charges. A Probation Officer goes to all the hearings to give the Court information about a case.

    If the judge decides the minor committed a crime, the Probation Officer has to evaluate the minor and say what kind of care, treatment and guidance the minor should receive. The Probation Department is in charge of all minors on probation — whether the minors are at home, in a group home, at a ranch or in residential centers.

    They also run and manage all the detention centers for minors. The Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation Department develops many programs to help care for, treat and guide the minors under their control.

    The Juvenile Probation Department is located at:
    Juvenile Center
    840 Guadalupe Parkway
    San Jose, CA 95110
    Phone: (408) 278-5800 

    To find out the name of a minor’s probation officer, call: (408) 278-5800. Only the minor, their attorney, and parents or guardians have the right to this information. .

  6. Do parents or guardians go to Juvenile Justice hearings?

    Parents or guardians have to go to the court hearing. The Court can make parents or guardians go to court. But, if the judge thinks that the best thing for the minor is for the parents or guardians NOT to go, they don’t have to. Also, if it’s too hard for them to go, the judge might not make them come.

  7. Can other people see a minor’s records or go to the hearing?

    In most cases, people other than the minor’s parents cannot go to the hearings. But sometimes if the Court feels someone has a direct and valid interest in a case, they will let other people go. If a minor is charged with a serious felony, the public can be in the courtroom if the judge approves it.

    A serious felony can be:

    • Murder,
    • Arson,
    • Robbery,
    • Serious sex charges,
    • Gun charges,
    • Burglary,
    • Drugs,
    • Gang activity,
    • Kidnapping, and
    • Torture.

    The minor can ask the Court not to let the public and press in if they think they won’t get a fair trial. A victim can also ask the Court not to let the public and press in when they are testifying. This is especially true if it was a sex crime and the victim is under 16. But, a witness can ask to let certain people into the hearing to support them while they testify.

    By law, only certain people can see a minor’s records. Usually, only the minor, the parents or guardians and their lawyer can see the minor’s records. All other people have to file a Petition for Disclosure of Juvenile Records to the Juvenile Justice Court.

    For some serious felonies, the police can give out the minor’s name if they are over 14.

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara