A jurisdiction hearing is the same as a trial in an adult case except there is no jury. A jurisdiction hearing is conducted like a court trial where the judge is the one making the decision whether the petition is sustained or dismissed. The normal rules of evidence must be followed in a jurisdiction hearing. The petition can only be sustained if it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt by legally admissible evidence.
Jurisdiction Hearing Time Requirements
The jurisdiction hearing must be held within 30 days after the filing of the petition if the minor is out of custody or 15 days if the minor is in custody, unless time is waived. A minor is detained if the minor is placed on home supervision.
A minor under the age of 14 is presumed incapable of knowing the wrongfulness of their acts and incapable of committing a crime unless the prosecution rebuts the presumption by clear and convincing evidence.
Negotiation of Charges
Negotiation of charges in juvenile court may be done between the defense, prosecution, and judge. A juvenile court may accept a negotiated settlement that specifies a specific disposition.
Admission of Allegations Prior to Trial
In some cases, the minor will admit the allegations in the petition because a settlement agreement has been worked out among the parties. If a minor is in the custody of their parent or guardian after an admission, the minor may not be ordered into detention without notice, hearing, and opportunity for the minor to contest detention.
If the court finds the allegations in the petition true, the court rules that the minor comes under Welf & I C§602. After a contested jurisdiction hearing, the court may obtain facts which support the detention of an out of custody minor.
After the Jurisdiction Hearing
If the court finds that the allegations in the petition are true, a disposition hearing will be set. A disposition hearing is a sentencing hearing. The main purpose of the juvenile court sentence should be rehabilitation.