Welcome to Juvenile Court
- Court Preparation
- Informal Adjustments
- Pre-Trial Diversions
- Juvenile Warning Citations
- Teen Court
- Juvenile Detention Service
- Crisis Counseling
- Family Referrals
- Juvenile Probation Services
- Public Service Work
- Background Checks
- Alive at 25 (Defensive Driving Program)
- National Safety Councils Defensive Driving Program
- Skills for Life
- First Offender Program
- Prime for Life
- Custody Transfers
- Victims Compensation Program
- Foster Care Review Program
- Truancy Review Board
- Statistical Gathering for the Commission on Children & Youth
The Montgomery County Juvenile Court divides all duties and services into three categories:
- Custody Prevention
The purpose of the child custody program is to provide safe and secure juvenile detention service for those juveniles who may be a danger to themselves or to others. The program also monitors children in state custody and offers alternatives to keep children out of state custody. The program requires judges and court staff to comply with state mandates taken from TCA 37-1-117, 37-1-130, 37-1-132, 37-2-403 and 37-2-406.
- Prevention / Diversion Program
The purpose of the Juvenile Prevention/ Diversion Program is to provide supervision and services to Montgomery County Juveniles so they can improve family relationships, enhance school participation and avoid further involvement within the judicial system.
- Court Administration Program
The purpose of the Court Administration Program is to provide intervention and adjudication services such as taking minutes, filing and scheduling cases for attorneys and judges; hearing cases; collecting fees and court costs and ensuring that files and orders are properly completed, filed and archived.
The Montgomery County Juvenile Court has three employees certified by Lions Quest with both the Family Service Specialist holding certificates in the program. Lions Quest skills for action is an evidence based program supported by Lions Club International and endorsed by the National Youth Leadership Council. Lions Quest Skills for Action is rooted in the belief that young people are valuable resources who can take active and meaningful roles in addressing the issues that affect their lives, communities and the world. Lions Quest Skills for Action is a flexible program for grades 9-12 that builds essential life and citizenship skills through educational classes while being supervised by the court. All court classes listed use principles taken from the Lions Quest curriculum.
Prime for Life
This class satisfies the requirement of the Drug Free Youth Act and is offered to juveniles charged with drug or alcohol offenses. Each participant is required to complete a drug and alcohol assessment. Peer pressure, health hazards, legal issues and assertiveness training are some of the topics discussed in the class. The class is eight hours and the cost is $75.00
Skills for Action
The program challenges the offenders to make appropriate value judgments. Respect for others, other peoples property, self respect, self discipline and consequences for ones actions are emphasized in this class. Concepts from Lions Quest, Aggression Replacement Training and reality therapy are discussed. The class meets for 8 hours and the cost is $50.00.
First Offender Program
This program is a two hour seminar offered to juvenile offenders and their parents who have been referred to the juvenile court for the very first time. Drug an alcohol laws, juvenile records, the curfew law and the distinction between unruly and delinquent offenses are some of topics discussed. The cost of the First Offender Program is $25.00.
The Youth Service staff and Probation staff offer drug testing to those juveniles that are ordered to be tested by the court. As a condition of court supervision, juveniles being supervised by the court must be drug screened each month or as directed by the court. The cost for a drug test is $20.00.
Truancy Review Boards
The Family Service Specialist (probation officers) chairs the truancy review process. In an effort to assist the school system with truancy problems, the courts family service specialist discuss with the juveniles and parents the laws and consequences of truancy court should their behavior continue. The board includes members of law enforcement; Genesis Learning Center staff; truant officers; DCS and other representatives from community agencies. The goal is to render assistance to families in need and to encourage juveniles and parents to work together to stop truancy problems.
Judges have created a special truancy court in an effort to reduce the chances of juveniles entering state custody. Those who continue to miss school after attending the truancy review board have one last opportunity in the truancy court to improve their school attendance. Cases are often continued for sixty (60) days and reviewed to see if attendance has improved. If continued absences persist, then a trial is set and the juvenile is subject to state custody.
Using volunteers within the community and the youth service and probation staff first time offenders are given the opportunity to attend teen court. This is a type of informal adjustment where no conviction is entered and a panel team of the juveniles peers listen to the offense and impose a disposition. Court classes; reports and public service are some of the suggestions that the court will hand down to the juvenile in the form of a disposition. The cost for the Teen Court is $62.00 per charge.
Parents and Children are encouraged to seek counseling through the Court Administrator or the Youth Service staff when a family is experiencing problems with their children at home; at school or if there is suspected involvement in chemical abuse or delinquent behavior. Many times families are referred to community organizations for counseling or other community projects that specializes family issues.
First offenders who do not contest the allegations in a petition are offered to contract with the court in the form of an informal adjustment. The juvenile may be referred to teen court or a youth service officer may initiate a written contract and monitor the juvenile for ninety (90) days to ensure that all conditions in the contract have been met. The cost for the Diversion Program is $62.00 per charge.
Juvenile Warning Citations
A city or county officer is given a choice of whether or not to file a petition for minor offenses or informally issue a juvenile warning citation. This results in not having a case heard by the judge but does require the parents and juvenile to meet with a youth service officer to go over the citation. The program is similar to that of an informal adjustment without the petition. The juveniles are given public service work; ordered to pay restitution; assigned defensive driving courses and/or professional counseling are some of the options used by Youth Service Officers.
One of the largest expenses in the juvenile courts budget is Juvenile Detention. Montgomery County does not have a juvenile detention center to detain delinquent or unruly juveniles so the court contracts with Maury County; Rutherford County and a few others in Tennessee. The main juvenile detention facility used is the Middle Tennessee Juvenile Detention Facility in Maury County often referred to as Columbia. The purpose of juvenile detention is to protect the citizens of Montgomery County from the juvenile as well as protecting the juvenile from themselves. The cost to house one juvenile for one day in Middle Tennessee is $130.00 and the cost to detain juveniles in Rutherford County is $175.00 per day. At times the court has had up to twenty juveniles in detention at one time. On average Montgomery County will detain eight juveniles a day.
Temporary Custody Transfers
To assist the school system and Fort Campbell as well as to ensure that all children in Montgomery County have a legal guardian or someone appointed in loco parental status, the juvenile court issues temporary custody orders. Without this service children who are in Montgomery County without a legal guardian are dependent and neglected children and could be turned over to the Department of Children’s services and placed in foster care. Responsible adults who have children living with them who are not their parents are offered the opportunity to set up an appointment for a custody transfer. Generally a notarized statement from the parent and the judges’ approval is all that is needed to complete this process. The cost for a custody transfer is $42.00 and with a certified copy is $ 47.50 total.
The juvenile court operates under the guidance of three elected Judges and one appointed referee. The elected judges are Wayne C. Shelton; Ray L. Grimes and Ken Goble. The Magistrates are Tim Barnes and William Lebo.
Youth Services Officers
The youth service officers advise judges on the availability of programs in the community; screen petitions and complaints; advise law enforcement on the availability of detention placements; initiate all court orders issued by the judges; counsel families in crisis as well as all other required and mandated duties necessary prior to an adjudicatory hearing. The Youth Service Officers are:
- Family Service Specialist
Family Service Specialists are commonly referred to as Probation officers. The Family Service Specialist insures that juveniles who have been through the adjudicatory process obey the court orders issued by the judges. Overseeing restitution payments, public service work, and monitoring school attendance as well as teaching court classes and counseling those on their caseload are some of the duties of the Family Service Officers.
- Delinquency Prevention Specialist
The Delinquent Prevention Specialist has all the training of a Youth Service Officer and has over five years experience as a juvenile probation officer. Responsibilities include overseeing six foster care review boards to insure that juveniles in state custody are accounted for and are working the plan created by the Department of Children’s Services. During the intake process this position is responsible for appointing all attorneys required to cases for families that are indigent. The Delinquent Prevention Specialist is in charge of maintaining and the operation of the juvenile warning citation program. At times this position may supervise probation case or take minutes during Juvenile Court proceedings.
The Administrative staff includes one office manager who is considered the Juvenile Court Clerk. The Office Manager is responsible for the direct supervision of the Administrative staff which includes the accounting associates; filing clerk and receptionist. The office manager is also in charge of assisting the court administrator in processing of all requisitions and assisting the court administrator in the monitoring of the Victims Compensation Program.
The receptionist not only answers all the incoming calls to the juvenile court but also collects all petitions and court orders submitted to the juvenile court. Each document is logged in and date stamped then forwarded to the filing clerk for a file to be created or placed in an existing file. The receptionist also types all the orders in the docket books which the office is required to maintain as the juvenile court is a court of record.
All documents received by the juvenile court are placed in the juveniles’ file. These documents may include petitions; court orders; psychological evaluations; parenting plans and foster care review plans to name a few. If a juvenile does not have a file, one must be created. At times judges, youth service officers and probation officers need a file or paperwork, in those cases the records clerk has to locate the file or paperwork and get it to the individual requesting the record. This position is also responsible for archiving those files of juveniles who turn 18. These records must be pulled, labeled and archived into storage.