This court services youth under the age of seventeen who have been charged with a criminal offense, traffic violation, or statutory offense.
Cases are heard by the juvenile court judge and disposition made when the juvenile is found to be delinquent and in need of treatment and rehabilitation. The Juvenile Court of Columbia County also provides probation supervision for youth who are residents of Columbia County and have been found delinquent by the court.
The court also hears deprivation cases referred by the Division of Family and Children Services and requests for Temporary Change in Custody.
Who are the People in Juvenile Court?
|Judge||The judge hears cases and decides questions of law in court. He or she will determine if a juvenile is delinquent and in need of treatment and rehabilitation. The judge will hear recommendations from the Intake Officer and make a ruling.|
|Intake Officer||Officer of juvenile court who schedules cases, makes decisions regarding immediate detention at the time of offense, and presents recommendations and criminal history record of each juvenile who appears before the judge.|
|State Attorney||Referred to as the Prosecutor or the Assistant District Attorney (A.D.A.) presents the facts of the case in which the juvenile appears for a hearing and/or trial before the judge.|
|Defense Attorney||Can be an appointed attorney known as the Public Defender or an attorney retained by the parents/guardians of a juvenile. This person represents the juvenile and pleads his or her case asking the judge for what is in the best interest of his or her client. For example, he or she may ask the judge for a shorter detention sentence.|
|Guardian Ad Litem||In some cases, the judge may appoint an advocate to represent the child's interest. This person does not work for the parents or the prosecutor. He or she will interview the child and any other parties involved in the child's life and submit a written and/or verbal report to the judge. The purpose of the GAL is to assist the judge in deciding what is in the best interest of the child.|
|Probation Officer||This person is appointed after the judge has found a juvenile to be delinquent. He or she is responsible for explaining the judge's ruling and guiding the juvenile and his or her family through completing the conditions ordered by the judge.|
|Social/Case Worker||Represent the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in cases where a child is alleged or has been found to be deprived by the laws of the state of Georgia. The judge may also appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) worker in a deprivation case who serves similar purpose as a Guardian Ad Litem in a delinquent case.|
|Deputy Clerk||Representative from the Clerk of Superior and Juvenile Court who manages the legal files and documents thereof for all juvenile court cases.|
|Court Reporter||This person records the transcript of the court proceedings.|
|Bailiff||Sheriff Deputies assigned to keep order in the courtroom.|
More information regarding victims and the impact concerning Juvenile Court can be found in the Victim’s Rights Guide.
Each program is used, reviewed, and revised to meet the current needs of the juveniles we are servicing at the time. The following lists past and present programs implemented through our court:
|Anger Management/Decision Making 101(formally known as My' Space')||No||Decision making program for middle and high school students|
|Mediation||No||Individual/co-perpetrator resolve issue through third party intervention|
|Prevention and Diversion Counseling Services||No||Family and child meet with coordinator to resolve household/school issues|
|Juvenile and Family Firesetters/Arson/Explosive Intervention Program||No||Specific course for offenses involving fire component to teach safety and dangers of mishandling fire and/or related objects|
|Anger Management Course||No||Group class regarding recognizing anger and appropriate manners to deal with issues|
|Character Education Course||No||Character building skills|
|Adolescent Safe Passage||No||Specific course for juveniles found delinquent of offenses of sexual nature|
|Seven Challenges Course||No||Drug and Alcohol education facilitated by Family Intervention Program|
|Truancy Reduction Program||No||Reduce truancy recidivism with school age children|
|Traffic Intervention Program (T.I.P.)||Yes||Education on traffic laws for juvenile traffic offenders. Occasionally class is open to public for any juvenile under the age of 17|
Sheriff Telling Our Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers
|Yes||Program through Columbia County Sheriff's Office where parents can enroll any youth under the age of 21 into a voluntary watch service to notify parents of any potentially harmful driving habits observed.|
|Community Work Program||No||Probation juveniles keep county roads and school stadiums clean throughout the year|
|Families Interchanging with a Purpose Program||No||Group class involving juvenile and family members regarding communication and other skills to improve home environment|
|Taking Flight in the Right Direction||No||Interactive course between parent and juvenile on developing good communication skills, improving relationships, and making positive life decisions|
|G.E.N.T.S. Course||No||Generating Excellence Needed To Succeed - male juveniles only|
|D.I.V.A.S. Course||No||Developing Values, Insight, An Assertive Attitude, and Self Worth - female juveniles only|
|S.A.F.E. Youth Project||Yes||Program through Columbia County Community Connections located in Harlem, GA. open to any child. Referrals accepted by parents, schools, or court|
|Strengthening Families Program||No||Family based prevention intervention 14-weekprogram of two-three hour sessions involving parent skills training groups, children's social skills training groups, and family skills training groups.|
|Shoplifter's Alternative Program||No||Specific course for shoplifting offenders|
|The Determined Youth Program||No|
|Development of an Anti-Bullying Campaign (A.B.C.)||No||Pilot survey program to determine extent of bullying in local schools|
|"Transitioning From Elementary to Middle School" Presentation||Yes||Presentation to rising middle school youth on the consequences of bad behavior as youth get older and are held more accountable for actions|
|"Cyberbullying" Presentation||Yes||Presented to 4th and 5th grade students on definition and consequences of bullying through electronic devices|
|"Bullying is Not a Joke" Presentation||Yes||Presented to 4th and 5th grade students on what is bullying, how to prevent bullying, and determining if you are the bully|
|"Choices and Consequences" Presentation||Yes||Presented to High school and Middle school students on juvenile law and how court system works|
"Choices and Consequences" Presentation
Judge Flanagan and staff from the Juvenile Court spoke to students at every Columbia County High School. The purpose was to enlighten all students of the process and procedures of juvenile court and Choices and Consequences. Hopefully, through this presentation, students would be empowered to make wise decisions.
"Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School" Presentation
2010 brought a new program to Juvenile Court. The program entitled "Transitioning from Elementary School into Middle School: Choices and Consequences" was presented by Judge Douglas Flanagan and staff from Juvenile Court. They talk to the 5th graders about Choices and Consequences and the responsibilities that they will have in Middle School.
Juvenile Traffic Violators
Citations issued to anyone under the age of 17 are referred to the Columbia County Juvenile Court. The law enforcement officer normally provides the juvenile with the court contact information. The juvenile and/or parent can call the office to inquire about when court may be scheduled. The juvenile and parent will receive a notice to appear for traffic court approximately three weeks before the court date. A parent must accompany the juvenile to court on this date. If the juvenile is found guilty of the traffic violation, the judge will determine whether he or she shall pay a fine, supervision fee, attend a program for traffic offenders, and/or surrender license for a specified suspension period, etc.
Juvenile Traffic Law
Effective January 1, 2007, teen drivers must adhere to the updated laws, known as "Joshua's Law".