Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

What Are The Intricacies Involved In The Juvenile Justice System?


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Each county in Florida, unless it’s a very small county that relies on the larger neighboring county or a group of other small counties, is going to have a series of agencies that work with each other. The type of juvenile charge, family dynamics, method of intervention by law enforcement, other factors will determine who is involved. For example, you may have a local police department involved first. Municipalities run police departments, which is the fancy way of saying cities. Counties run Sheriff’s Departments and they have jurisdiction outside of municipalities, unless a municipality doesn’t have a police force with the defined physical jurisdiction.

The second agency that comes to mind is the Juvenile Probation Department. This is because they become involved in the case very early, when it comes to the preparation of detention review score sheet, and they are always in court during a case. You are going to have juvenile probation involved. Even if your child is acquitted, even if charges are dismissed, they are always involved. Then, you have agencies and departments such as the Department of Children and Family Services. If a juvenile case involves allegations of child abuse or sex offenses, the Department of Children and Family Services may be involved.

You have other agencies that may or may not be involved in a particular case, depending on the specifics of the case. If the charge involves evidence that is sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or as we just generally call it FDLE, then that’s another agency that could be involved in the case. What they do is they examine and test evidence, they then send back a report to the Office of the State Attorney. Through the discovery process, assuming the child and their parents are smart enough to hire a lawyer, then the defense will have a copy of that. If somebody tries to handle it on their own, then they will not have access to evidence in their case.

The next agency that will be involved is one of the 20 different offices of the State Attorney. The State Attorney is an elected official who hires a number of Assistant State Attorneys, who then handle the actual cases involved. Finally, there are other agencies that could be involved, but are not involved very often so I won’t go into them.

In a juvenile case, it’s going to be a far more intense process than it is in the adult criminal system, because the goal of sanctions in juvenile court is so radically different than an adult court. One mistake parents often make when it comes to all these agencies trying to intervene, is that what the parents think is rehabilitation and what the system thinks is rehabilitation are often radically very different. The parent is sitting there saying, “If the goal is rehabilitation, why do they want to do X, Y, and Z. That’s going to harm my child.” It’s because we have this wonderful thing in the United States known as politics. The moment politics touches the juvenile justice system, you can well imagine what happens. It doesn’t go very well. We do what we can to mitigate the damage in these types of cases, and get charges reduced or dismissed. At the very least, we always try to produce the best outcome possible when someone you love has been arrested for a juvenile crime.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Intricacies of Juvenile Justice System, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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