Juvenile Probation | Glossary of Terms
This glossary is provided so that people attending Juvenile Court hearings may have
a better understanding of the language and proceedings they will hear and see. Should
additional questions arise, please ask the
Probation Officer or Victim Advocate assigned to your case for further information.
302 Commitment – This mental health proceeding
forces an evaluation, which may place an individual in the hospital involuntarily
for mental health observation and treatment. A Juvenile Court Judge instead of a
Mental Health Officer may hear a “302” hearing when certain conditions
Act 33 – A case wherein a defendant who is
juvenile by age, is charged as an adult because the crime alleged meets certain
Beginning in 1996, certain crimes such as aggravated assault or robbery with a deadly
weapon committed by a juvenile 15 years of age or older were removed from the
jurisdiction of Juvenile Court. Act 33 established that these and certain other
cases are directly filed in the Adult Criminal Division.
The following designated felonies where the child was 15 or older at the time of
the alleged conduct AND a “deadly weapon” was used during the commission
of the crime are :
||PACC 2702 (a)(1)
PACC 2702 (a)(2)
||Aggravated Indecent Assault
||An attempt , Conspiracy, or Solicitation to commit Murder
TIER TWO EXCLUSIONS:
The following designated felonies, where the child was 15 or older at the time of
the alleged conduct and has previously been adjudicated delinquent on the basis
of any of these felonies:
||Robbery of a Motor Vehicle
||Aggravated Indecent Assault
||An attempt , Conspiracy, or Solicitation to commit Murder
NOTE: “Deadly weapon” is defined
under PACC 2301 as: Any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any device designed
as a weapon and capable of producing death or serious bodily injury, or any other
device or instrumentality which, in the manner in which it is used or intended to
be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.
Act 53 – The process by which a parent or guardian
can petition the Court to declare their child to be in need of involuntary drug
and/or alcohol treatment services.
Adjudication – That portion of the hearing
the judge or Hearing Officer determines if the juvenile committed the crime or any
portion of the crime with which he or she is charged.
Aftercare – Upon release from residential placement,
a period of strict supervision to closely monitor the juvenile’s adjustment
back into the community.
Balanced and Restorative Justice – Balanced
and Restorative Justice is the law in Pennsylvania. This law maintains that the
Court process must include significant input from the victim at every level of the
process, and takes into account public safety, offender accountability, and victim
Certification – The process by which a juvenile
can be charged as an adult by transferring prosecution of an offense from Juvenile
Court to Criminal Court.
Collections Department – Department within
Court that receives and documents all restitution payments. This department is also
responsible for collecting and making sure victims receive all Court ordered monies.
Commitment – A Court ordered placement in either
a residential or day treatment facility.
Community Intensive Supervision Project (CISP) –
A community-based program that serves as an alternative to placement for male juvenile
offenders between the ages of 10 and 18. All CISP youth are supervised, monitored,
and held accountable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Community Service – The performance of unpaid
work, usually in a social service setting, aimed specifically at restoring the victim
and community for the harm caused by a juvenile’s delinquent activity.
Consent Decree – An order of the Court which
suspends the delinquent proceedings against the juvenile and places youth under
voluntary supervision in his or her own home, under terms and conditions negotiated
with the probation department and agreed to by all parties affected.
Continued Hearing – A case that is postponed
or rescheduled to another date.
Court Appointed Attorney – Where an ethical
conflict of interest exists for the Office of the Public Defender to represent a
juvenile (such as when two or more juveniles are charged as co-defendants) the Judge
will appoint additional defense attorney(s). These attorneys are called Conflict
Attorneys because their appointment to the case resolves the conflict.
Court Clerk – The Court employee who is present
during the Court proceedings whose purpose is to maintain the official papers and
CYF Caseworker – Children, Youth, and Families
is a County agency acting as an agent of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
A CYF caseworker is the agency representative involved in dependency cases that
deal with alleged abuse and/or neglect of children, or children who are beyond their
Day Treatment Program – A Court ordered placement
into the community that provides rehabilitative treatment for juveniles during the
day and evening hours.
De-certification – The process by which a juvenile
charged as an adult can be transferred from Criminal Court to Juvenile Court for
prosecution of an offense.
Disposition – What the judge orders to happen
to the juvenile at the end of the hearing.
District Attorney (DA) – A lawyer who, as the
prosecutor, represents the Commonwealth and speaks for the victim. A DA is assigned
to most cases automatically.
District Office – A Juvenile Probation Office
located in the community.
Felony – A legal term used to define the most
Hearing Officer – Also known as a “Master”,
a Hearing Officer is an attorney appointed by the Court who is authorized, under
the Juvenile Act, to conduct delinquency and dependency hearings. Hearing Officers’
decisions can be appealed to a Juvenile Court Judge.
Judge – Determines adjudications of dependency
and delinquency and determines dispositions.
Juvenile Act – State legislation that dictates
the rules and regulations of Juvenile Court
Misdemeanor – A legal term used to define most
No Contact Order – A Court order which states
that the juvenile is not permitted to have contact with a specific person(s). Contact
is not permitted in person, by telephone, fax, e-mail, letter, etc. Most of these
orders state that neither the juvenile nor the juvenile’s family or friends
be permitted to have any contact with the victim(s) and witnesses.
Non-Secure Placement – A residential facility,
which provides treatment and rehabilitation while affording juveniles the opportunity
to participate in community service projects, and activities on and off grounds.
Permission to Place – The Judge orders permission
to investigate residential programs for the juvenile.
Petition – The official document, which contains
the formal statement of charges against the juvenile.
Petition Hearing – A Court hearing where testimony
is taken regarding charges against the juvenile.
Probation – When a juvenile defendant is found
by the Court to be delinquent (guilty) of a crime, and is ordered to be under supervision
of a Probation Officer. The conditions (rules) imposed by the Judge and probation
department must be followed.
Probation Officer – Neutral Court staff officer
who supervises a juvenile during his or her probationary period or other Court ordered
supervision (such as Consent Decree, placement, day treatment, etc.) and who enforces
the terms and conditions imposed by the Judge and the probation department.
Public Defender (PD) – A lawyer who represents
juvenile offenders who are unable to afford a private attorney.
Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) – These
specialized facilities treat delinquent issues when a mental health diagnosis is
Restitution – Any money that a juvenile offender
is ordered to pay to his or her victim(s). Restitution is frequently ordered to
repay victims for any out of pocket losses that occurred solely as a result of the
juvenile’s delinquent act(s).
Review by Memo –The Probation Officer submits
a report to the Judge outlining and updating the juvenile’s progress and compliance
with the Judges last order. No attendance is necessary.
Review Hearing – Hearing to review the status
of a case.
School Based Probation Officer – Probation
assigned to provide Court supervision to all juveniles active with the Court and
attending a specific school.
Secure Placement – A residential facility which
provides treatment and rehabilitation. Restrictions are imposed to monitor a juvenile's
every action. Secure facilities are equipped with various devices, such as fences,
locked exits, and entrances, to ensure that juveniles are unable to leave the facility.
Sequester – Witnesses are asked to leave the
courtroom while other(s) testify.
Side Bar – Conversation at the Judge's bench
that takes place during the hearing between only the Judge, the defense attorney
and the District Attorney. The Probation Officer is also expected to participate.
Special Services Unit (SSU) – A division within
the Juvenile Probation department that addresses the special treatment needs of
Status Offense – Behaviors which are not a
misdemeanor, or felony, and which are only misbehaviors if committed by juveniles.
These offenses are usually handled by a District Justice, or CYF but can be handled
by Juvenile Court when certain conditions are present. These offenses include truancy,
running away from home, underage drinking, curfew violations and the like.
Summary – A summary offense is usually of a
minor nature, and normally carries a less serious penalty, such as a fine or community
service. The District Justice usually handles summary offenses, but these can be
handled by Juvenile Court when certain conditions are present. Additionally, the
District Justice can refer the case to Juvenile Court if the youth fails to comply
with the sentence.
Teleconference – A review hearing conducted
by telephone when a juvenile is in residential placement.
The Academy – A day/evening community based
program that serves as an alternative to placement for delinquent males and females
between the ages of 10 and 18. Juveniles committed to the program participate in
a variety of treatment groups and attend academic and GED preparation, as well as
vocational skill building.
Tipstaff – The Court Staff member who is responsible
for the orderly flow of cases through the Judge’s courtroom.
Victim Advocate – A social service worker who
supports and assists victims, witnesses and their families through the Court process
by addressing questions and concerns, attending court with them and providing additional
services, as needed.
Victim Compensation Fund – A state fund to
victims who have sustained a financial loss as a direct result of a crime. A mandatory
cost against the juvenile is imposed whenever a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent
or receives a Consent Decree disposition.
Violation of Probation (VOP) or Violation of Conditions of Supervision
– When a juvenile under court supervision breaks their rules.
Waiver – Agreeing to give up certain rights.
Warrant – A Court Order authorizing arrest
secure detention of the juvenile.
Youth Development Center (YDC) – Secure residential
facility operated by the state.