Pre-Court Diversion

Section 3.5

Judicial Officers Should Exercise their Statutory and Inherent Authorities to Determine, Prior to Adjudication, Whether Youth and Families Received, in a Timely Manner, Appropriate Interventions that Could Have Limited their Court Involvement

Although all efforts should be made to avoid court involvement for status offense behaviors, in some cases youth alleged to have committed a status offense will end up in court. Prior to adjudication, judicial officers should take deliberate steps to determine whether pre-court diversion efforts were made and, if so, why they failed to produce the desired outcome.  If the court determines that pre-court diversion efforts where inadequate, judicial officers should, whenever possible, dismiss the case or stay proceedings until such interventions are pursued. (See commentary for Section 3.1 for more information on questions judicial officers should ask about the adequacy of pre-court efforts).