It occurs to me that since I've moved to juvenile I haven't given any kind of accounting of what I do here.
Here's the lowdown. Down low. Upshot. Whatever.
All kids in the juvenile (and that means youths aged 10-17) are assigned a personal identification number (PID. Wait, that should be PIN, no? Huh, never thought about it before, but it's definitely PID). And as you'd expect they already have a last name. So I handle those kids in the alphabet between A and L, whose PID ends in an odd number.
Quick math test: how many prosecutors do we have handling juvenile cases?
Trick question, because it's five, not four, as we have a special ADA just for sexual offenses. Which is kind of disturbing, if you think about it.
Anyway, I have court two days a week, Wednesday and Thursday. The rest of the week I sit beside the juvenile division's swimming pool and am fed bon-bons by the division's pet monkey. It's a good gig, actually. Occasionally, though, I will wander to my office to prepare for the upcoming cases.
As a matter of fact, the pace here is lickity-split. Where in adult court cases last a year or more, the turnaround time here is a matter of months, sometimes weeks.
Subject matter? Mostly misdemeanors. Assaults, thefts, criminal mischief. The felonies tend to be burglaries, or unlawful use of motor vehicles. Again, this being juvenile you'd think the latter would be few and far between. Another good reason to wear a seat-belt, eh?
The focus down here is very different from adult court - a very strong emphasis on rehabilitation here, on providing services to ensure the kid gets back on the straight and narrow. Here are the main resolutions:
Deferred prosecution - this is what it sounds like. If a kid commits a crime his lawyer can file a motion for deferred prosecution (aka DPU). This means that he gets services from the probation office (drug counseling etc) and if he does as he's told for six months all charges are dismissed.
Probation - much like in adult court, but again the emphasis is on providing services for the kid's needs. But they do have a record now, though there are some rules about having it sealed at a later date. Unlike in adult court, where if you screw up you go to prison, if a kids messes up while on probation he gets more intensive services, sometimes to the point where he/she gets locked up while they are administered.
That's pretty much the deal. It definitely suits my own philosophy of mercy and redemption, so in that sense it's a good fit. The downside for me, personally, is that there are never any jury trials. Never. Ever. We, the State, don't have a right to them like we do in adult court and the kids' lawyers always opt for a bench trial because the judges, who deal with these kids every day, are more forgiving than a group of strangers who might be shocked what some kids get up to.
And I like jury trials, you know that.