The Juvenile Court system is modeled after the adult court system, but the way that it is implemented and the purpose behind it are quite different. The Juvenile Court system is much more child oriented. It is understood that children entering the Juvenile court system are at varying developmental stages and are capable of only certain levels of understanding.
In recognizing this fact, the Juvenile Court has tried to make the courtroom atmosphere and the language surrounding it less intimidating. For example, children commit law violations, not crimes, and they admit or deny to the charges rather than plead guilty or not guilty. Due to the intimidating nature of the judicial system, it is important for the court to accommodate and cater to these special needs. The Juvenile Court is, therefore, more open to modification , which is dictated by the individual needs of the children.
Juvenile offenders going through the Juvenile Court system are afforded almost every right that adult offenders are granted. The exception to this is that they are not given the right to a jury trial. A judge will always decide the issue at any Juvenile proceeding. The step of grand jury is also bypassed in the Juvenile Court system.
Another major difference between the two court systems is the philosophy or focus. The Juvenile Court system's goals are that the offending child take responsibility for his or her actions, and get help to overcome the problem. If the offending child denies the allegations, the case proceeds much like in the adult court system.
The District Attorney's computer system does not contain the status of Juvenile cases. In order to find out what is going on in a juvenile case, you should call the offending child's probation officer. This person is assigned to the case when it first enters the Juvenile Court system. He/she is an extremely helpful source of information (e.g. - date of the next court hearing, the conditions of the offending child's release, etc.). To find out who is the assigned probation officer, you may call the Juvenile Court. You may also call the D.A.'s office at Juvenile. Most Juvenile Court hearings are held at the Family Court building at 3030 Center Street NE; however, because of the increased caseload, some juvenile trials are also being set at the courthouse. Please be advised, given the delicate and confidential nature of juvenile cases, officials may not be willing to discuss cases over the phone unless you have a specific relation to the case, and a "need to know".
Case Procedure Flowchart
3030 Center Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
PO Box 14500
Salem, OR 97309
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
503-588-5411 After Hours: 503-588-5321