Fresno County Superior Court – Juvenile
Overview of Fresno County Superior Court – Juvenile Division
The Fresno County Superior Court Juvenile Division handles cases involving minors under the age of 18 who are accused of committing crimes or who are facing issues like abuse, neglect, or truancy. The court’s jurisdiction covers all of Fresno County. Its purpose is to provide justice, protection, and rehabilitation for juveniles while also considering public safety.
Unlike adult court, juvenile court proceedings are more focused on the minor’s wellbeing and best interests. The procedures are less formal and the outcomes aim to provide guidance and services for at-risk youth. However, juveniles can still face serious consequences like probation, community service, counseling, placement outside the home, or detention.
Types of Juvenile Cases Heard
The Fresno County juvenile court handles a wide range of cases, including:
- Delinquency – Criminal offenses committed by minors such as theft, assault, vandalism, drug offenses, etc.
- Status offenses – Behaviors that are illegal only due to the minor’s age like truancy, running away, curfew violations.
- Dependency – Cases of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment by the parents or guardians.
- Guardianships – Appointing a guardian for a minor when the parents are unable to care for the child.
- Conservatorships – Appointing a responsible person to care for a disabled minor.
- Traffic violations – Citations issued to minors for traffic offenses.
- Adoptions – Adoption proceedings for children who are wards of the court.
Juvenile Court Procedures
Fresno County juvenile cases typically go through the following court procedures:
Filing a Petition
The case starts with the prosecutor filing a juvenile petition detailing the allegations against the minor. The petition requests the court to take jurisdiction over the matter.
If the minor was arrested, a detention hearing must be held within 1-2 days. The judge will decide whether the juvenile should be held in custody pending the next hearing or released to their parent/guardian.
This is a hearing to determine if the allegations are true. It is similar to a trial, with witnesses testifying. If found true, the case will move to disposition.
The disposition hearing determines consequences for the minor. The judge considers probation’s recommendation and orders an outcome like counseling, community service, probation terms, or detention.
Services Offered to Juveniles
Fresno County provides a range of services aimed at rehabilitating minors and addressing issues leading to delinquency:
The probation department oversees juveniles on probation, providing supervision to ensure compliance with court orders and access to services like:
- Community service placement
- Mental health assessment
- Substance abuse treatment
- School placement/monitoring
- Life skills classes
Mental Health Services
Mental health professionals assess juveniles and provide services like counseling, therapy, and medication management. This addresses conditions contributing to delinquency.
Substance Abuse Programs
Juveniles participate in drug and alcohol education classes and treatment programs to overcome addiction issues.
Community Service Programs
Minors complete volunteer work with organizations to repay the community. This teaches responsibility and skills.
Rights of Juveniles in Court
Juveniles have the following basic rights in Fresno County juvenile court proceedings:
Right to Notice
Minors and their parents have a right to formal notice of charges, hearing dates, and more.
Right to Counsel
Juveniles have the right to legal representation by a public defender or private attorney.
Right Against Self-Incrimination
Minors can refuse to testify or provide statements that may be self-incriminating.
Role of Parents/Guardians
The minor’s parents or legal guardians play an important role in juvenile cases by:
Attending Court Hearings
Parents should attend hearings to show support and get involved in the case resolution.
Participating in Court-Ordered Programs
Parents may have to participate in counseling, parenting classes, or other programs as part of the juvenile’s rehabilitation.
Parents may have to pay fines, fees, victim restitution, and other costs stemming from the case.
Juvenile Detention Facilities
If ordered detained, juveniles are held at:
Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus
This is the main secure detention facility with:
Security and Services
- Single-occupancy rooms
- Medical and mental health services
- Two 1-hour visits per week
- Only approved visitors
- Monitored visitation room
Other Placement Options
- Group homes
- Shelter care
- Foster homes
- Out of state facilities
Sealing Juvenile Records
Minors can have their records sealed through the following process:
Qualifying for Record Sealing
Records can be sealed at age 18 or 5 years after jurisdiction ended if no additional convictions occurred.
File a petition and attend a court hearing to request sealing. Judges still have discretion whether to grant it.
Benefits of Sealing Records
Sealing records helps juveniles move forward in life with better access to jobs, housing, education, military service, etc. Their criminal history is essentially erased.
Key Figures in Fresno County Juvenile Court
Fresno County has several dedicated juvenile court judges who preside over cases and make final rulings. They are experienced in juvenile law and child welfare.
Commissioners assist judges by hearing cases like detention hearings, uncontested petitions, and reviewing records to make recommendations.
District Attorney’s Office
Prosecutors in the DA’s juvenile division handle the petitions alleging crimes and requesting court intervention.
Public Defender’s Office
Public defenders represent minors who cannot afford a private attorney. They advocate for juveniles’ rights and best interests.
Juvenile probation officers make recommendations, supervise compliant minors, and link youth to rehabilitative services.
Trends and Recent Developments
Juvenile Crime Statistics
- Juvenile felony arrests decreased by 42% over the past 10 years in Fresno County.
- Misdemeanor and status offense arrests also declined significantly.
- Youth gang activity is dropping.
- A 17-year-old was sentenced to 25 years in a 2020 murder case.
- Six teens faced charges in 2022 for vandalizing a middle school, causing over $100,000 in damages.
- Increased focus on mental health and rehabilitation programs over detention.
- Law enforcement uses more diversion programs instead of arrests.
- New policies aim to reduce racial disparities.
New Facilities and Programs
- A new Juvenile Justice Campus was built in 2017 with improved education and treatment services.
- The DA’s office expanded eligibility for diversion programs.
- New vocational programs prepare youth for jobs.
Search Court Case Records
Fresno County Superior Court Cases
Fresno County Superior Court offers an online case access system to search court cases and view case details. Users can search by party name, case number, or attorney bar number. Case details available include future hearing dates, party and attorney information, charges filed, case events, documents filed, and more. This allows convenient access to public court records that previously required traveling to the courthouse and requesting paper files in person.
Online case access increases transparency and expands public access to court records. Parties and attorneys can also view their own case details more efficiently online.
Dockets, Calendars, and Other Information
Fresno County Superior Court Calendar
In addition to case details, Fresno County Superior Court provides online access to court calendars. The court website has calendars for the past two days and the daily hearing docket for the B.F. Sisk Courthouse.
Viewing court calendars online allows the public to see scheduled hearings and cases coming before the court each day. Parties and attorneys can confirm their hearing date and time without calling the court. Online court calendars improve convenience and access.
Published Opinions and Orders
Fresno County Superior Court Tentative Rulings
Parties in a civil law and motion matter can view the tentative ruling online for their scheduled hearing. Tentative rulings are posted on the court website by the Civil Law and Motion Judge.
If no party contests the tentative ruling by the hearing, it becomes the court’s ruling. Viewing tentative rulings online allows parties to preview court rulings on motions in advance. This increases transparency and allows parties to decide if a hearing appearance is needed to contest the tentative ruling.
Attorney General Legal Opinions
The California Attorney General issues written legal opinions on questions of law submitted by government officials. Attorney General opinions from 1985 to present can be searched online on the state website.
Searching Attorney General opinions online provides free public access to these legal resources. Users can search by opinion number, year, author, and text keywords. This facilitates legal research.
Forms and Related Information
Fresno County Superior Court Forms
Fresno County Superior Court offers many local court forms available to download from their website. Forms are organized by category such as civil, criminal, family, probate, and traffic.
The website also has links to statewide forms and interactive forms services. Having court forms available online makes them more accessible to the public for preparing legal filings.
AOC Records Request Form and Information
The state Administrative Office of the Courts has an online form and information to request records maintained by the office, Judicial Council or Appellate Courts. This facilitates public access to judicial administrative records.
Attorney Complaint Forms and Information
The State Bar of California offers an online complaint form the public can use to file a complaint against an attorney. The website also provides information and resources related to the disciplinary process.
Having attorney complaint forms available online increases public access and makes the process more efficient. Complaints can begin being investigated faster.
California State Superior Court Forms
The state courts website offers a comprehensive collection of California Superior Court forms that can be downloaded. Forms are searchable by form name, number, or case type.
A centralized online forms database makes locating the proper statewide forms convenient for court users. Parties can easily access forms anywhere with an internet connection.
Interactive Online Forms
Some court form services allow users to answer questions and automatically generate court forms ready for filing. Users can complete family, small claims, evictions, and other forms for a fee without drafting the forms themselves.
Online interactive court forms simplify the process for self-represented parties. Automatically generating forms reduces errors that could delay filings.
Online Fine Payments
Pay City of Fresno Parking Tickets
The City of Fresno allows parking tickets to be paid online through their website. Payments can be made by credit card for a fee.
Online parking ticket payment provides a convenient option for resolving parking citations quickly that avoids having to appear in person.
Pay Fresno County Superior Court Traffic Tickets and Court Traffic School Fees
Fresno Superior Court offers online payment of traffic tickets and related traffic school fees. Payments by credit card are processed for a fee through a third-party provider.
Paying traffic tickets online increases efficiency and reduces court workload. Defendants can resolve traffic infractions more quickly.
Self Help, Legal Research, General Information
Fresno County Law Library
The website for the Fresno County Public Law Library provides information about library contacts, hours, collections, and legal resources available to the public. An online ask-a-librarian reference service is also offered.
Fresno County Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution
The court provides online information about its Alternative Dispute Resolution program. Parties can resolve disputes through mediation, arbitration, and settlement conferences before trial. Program details, mediator profiles, and free mediation services for eligible cases are outlined.
Fresno County Superior Court Juvenile Case Information
Information about delinquency, status offenses, abuse, and neglect cases is available on the court’s website. Details about the juvenile justice system, court process, and community resources provide helpful legal information.
Fresno County Superior Court Rules
The court’s local rules that govern procedures and administration are published on the website. Access to court rules online provides transparency and assists with legal research and court compliance.
Fresno County Superior Court Self Representation
Self-help resources organized by case type assist self-represented parties using the court process. Information helps demystify the court system for non-lawyers.
Fresno County Superior Court Small Claims
Details about small claims cases, including filing, preparing for trial, collecting judgments, and appeals provide helpful guidance. The information outlines the small claims process for parties.
Fresno County Superior Court Traffic Case Information
The court website explains the traffic court process, options when cited, fine payments, DMV issues, and traffic school. Information helps motorists navigate the system.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The state courts website provides information about mediation, arbitration, settlement conferences, and other alternatives to formal litigation. Descriptions of ADR processes and programs educate court users.
Detailed Directory of Fresno County Courts
Navigating the legal maze can be perplexing. However, knowledge is power! Here’s your guide to the Fresno County courts:
B.F. Sisk Courthouse
Address & Contact: 1130 O Street, Fresno, CA 93721 Phone: 559-457-2000
This courthouse is a central hub, named after a prominent figure in Fresno’s history. It’s almost like the heart of Fresno’s judicial system. Picturing it yet?
Criminal Courts Departments 95 & 96
Address & Contact: 1265 M Street, Fresno, CA 93721 Phone: 559-457-2000
Think of this as the epicenter of criminal cases. These departments are dedicated to ensuring that justice is served, ensuring a fair trial for all.
Downtown Fresno Superior Court
Address & Contact: 1100 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93724 Phone: 559-457-2000
Located in the bustling center of the city, this court is to Fresno what Broadway is to New York. An essential spot, pulsating with activity.
Juvenile Delinquency Facility
Address & Contact: Juvenile Delinquency Facility 3333 East American Avenue, Suite A, Fresno, CA 93725 Phone: 559-457-4810
Picture a place where young minds, unfortunately having made missteps, are given a chance to right their wrongs. This facility aims to do just that.
M Street Courthouse
Address & Contact: 2317 Tuolumne Street, Fresno, CA 93721 Phone: 559-457-1700
Another crucial cog in the Fresno judicial machinery, the M Street Courthouse is a testament to the region’s commitment to upholding justice.
California Court Rules
State and local court rules can be accessed online from the state courts website. Court rules are helpfully organized by case type. Convenient online access aids legal research.
California Courts – Legal Information and Legal Resources
The California Courts website contains extensive self-help information and resources. Topics include court procedures, legal research, finding a lawyer, small claims, family law, traffic cases, and more.
California Courts – Small Claims Information
Guidance is provided on small claims research, filing, trial preparation, collection, and appeals. The information demystifies the small claims process for the public.
California Courts – Wills, Estates, and Probate Information
Resources explain wills, trusts, probate courts, estate administration, and asset distribution after death. Information assists the public with estate planning.
California Law Libraries
Contact information and websites for county law libraries across California are provided. Resources available at local law libraries aid legal research.
California Legal Document Assistance
The state regulates Legal Document Assistants who can provide services to the public, such as preparing legal forms. An online directory allows searching for Assistance by name, location or document type.
The state codes are searchable online by code name, section number, or keywords. Convenient public access to statutes facilitates legal research.
Child Support Services
Resources related to child support include online case access, child support calculation, and contact information for local offices. The information aids parents and caregivers.
Foreclosure Prevention Resources
Homeowners facing foreclosure can access information about local housing counselors, assistance programs, legal aid, and their rights in the process. Resources promote informed decision making.
LawHelp California Legal Information and Legal Resources
This website provides legal information on many topics, including housing, employment, family, domestic violence, civil rights, wills, immigration, and tribal law. Resources assist the public.
Legal Research Information
An online class explains how to conduct legal research using primary sources, secondary sources, and research strategies. The class empowers legal research.
Legal Research Links
Extensive links to national and California legal materials are organized topically to aid legal research. Categorization eases access to broad resources.
Online Law Library Services
Some California county law libraries provide an online Ask the Law Librarian reference service. Patrons can get legal questions answered and research guidance remotely.
Search California Traffic Safety Institute Traffic Schools
Traffic school listings can be searched by county on the California Traffic Safety Institute website. Search tools help motorists locate eligible schools.
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Information
The California DMV website offers information about traffic laws, driver licenses, vehicle registration, and related motor vehicle issues. Resources help the public access services.
Legal Aid, Free Services, Lawyer Referral
Fresno County Public Defender
The Public Defender’s website provides information about criminal defense services available to qualifying clients, contacts, FAQs, and the application process. Resources increase public awareness of services.
Central California Legal Aid
This organization offers free civil legal assistance to eligible community members in several central California counties. The website details services, staff, and aid programs.
California Bar Association – Attorney Information and Discipline Records
Profiles of State Bar members can be searched by name or bar number online. Disciplinary records for attorneys are also provided, increasing transparency.
California Rural Legal Assistance
This non-profit provides free civil legal aid to low-income rural Californians. Their website describes services, areas served, and legal issues handled, such as housing, labor and education.
Find a Lawyer, Referral Services, and Complaint Procedures
The State Bar website explains how to find and vet lawyers, file complaints, and resolve fee disputes. Resources protect consumer interests when hiring counsel.
Court interpreters can be searched online by language and county. Medical interpreter services are also searchable. Tools expand access to interpreters.
Free and Low-Cost Legal Services Information
A comprehensive guide outlines sources of free and affordable legal help, including courts, non-profits, law schools, and limited scope attorneys. Resources are elucidated.
Free Legal Help
This directory of California legal aid organizations allows searching by area served, city, and types of services offered. The tool connects the public to assistance.
Information explains limited-scope representation arrangements where attorneys provide discrete legal services for a fee lower than full representation. Options expand legal access.
The Fresno County Juvenile Court plays an important role in addressing youth crime while also supporting minors to become law-abiding, productive adults. The court aims to strike a balance between accountability, rehabilitation, and public safety. While juvenile delinquency remains an issue, recent trends show lower crime rates and innovations that will hopefully guide more youth towards success. Community support and engagement with the court’s goals are vital for these efforts to reduce youth offending and create positive change in young people’s lives.
Online court resources provide many benefits in terms of access, efficiency, convenience, transparency, and information. Courts are modernizing to meet public expectations for electronic services and records availability. While online access cannot replace in-person court appearances in all instances, utilizing available resources online can save time and trips to the courthouse in many cases.
Conveniently searching court records, paying fines, downloading forms, and communicating with courts online has become an essential public service. As more records and services move online, it is important for courts to consider equity of access. Steps like offering public computer terminals in courthouses can help ensure all community members can take advantage of online court innovation.
Expanded online public access comes with privacy and security considerations as well. Courts must weigh transparency interests with individual privacy rights when making records available electronically. Overall, online court resources represent a positive shift towards openness, efficiency and accessibility of the justice system.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of cases does the juvenile court handle?
The Fresno County Juvenile Court handles cases like criminal offenses, status offenses, abuse/neglect, guardianships, adoptions, and traffic violations involving minors under age 18.
What happens at a juvenile detention hearing?
Detention hearings are held within 1-2 days after a minor is arrested to determine if they should be held in custody pending their next court date or released to parents/guardians.
Do juveniles have the right to an attorney?
Yes, juveniles have the right to legal representation by either a public defender if they cannot afford a private attorney.
Can juvenile records be sealed?
Yes, minors can petition to have their records sealed at age 18 or 5 years after jurisdiction ended, as long as no additional convictions occurred.
What kinds of services do juveniles receive?
The court connects minors to services like counseling, mental health treatment, substance abuse programs, community service, vocational programs, and probation supervision aiming to rehabilitate.
Q: What are some benefits of courts putting information and services online?
A: Key benefits include increased convenience, time savings, expanded access to records, improved transparency, easier legal research, and the ability to conduct court business remotely instead of having to appear in person.
Q: What types of court records can typically be searched online?
A: Case details, party information, future court dates, charges filed, hearing schedules, tentative rulings, and filed documents can often be searched online through court case access portals.
Q: Where can I find court forms to use for my California court case?
A: The California Courts website has a comprehensive collection of state court forms that can be searched by form name, number, or case type. Many local county court websites also offer their court forms online.
Q: Can I resolve a traffic ticket online without going to court?
A: Many courts allow eligible traffic tickets to be paid online or for traffic school enrollment and fee payment to occur online. However, for more serious infractions or to contest a citation, appearing in court may be required.
Q: What are some examples of free legal resources available on California court websites?
A: Examples include self-help information, family and small claims guidance, court rules, legal research materials, lawyer directories, legal aid organizations lists, and ask-a-law-librarian services.