The juvenile justice system allows those under sixteen years of age an opportunity to keep their childhood indiscretions off of their public records. One way the juvenile court does this is by putting a case on the “consent calendar.”
The consent calendar allows a judge to treat a juvenile case in an informal way. The court, the juvenile and the juvenile’s parents must all agree that the consent calendar is the best route for the case. Consent calendar is appropriate when “protective and supportive action by the court will serve the best interests of the juvenile and the public.”
By electing to take part in the informal consent calendar, the juvenile is waiving several important rights. Rights such as:
- Formal notice of the charges;
- Right to a court appointed attorney;
- Right to a trial, before a judge or jury;
- The presumption of innocence;
- If the juvenile decides to take part in the consent calendar, they must admit responsibility for what they are being charged with. They are not allowed to maintain their innocence.
- The presentation of proof beyond a reasonable doubt;
- In an adult criminal case, a defendant (person accused) is presumed innocent until the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, and the defendant was the one that committed it. To proceed under the consent calendar, the prosecutor does not need to prove anything, and the juvenile must admit responsibility for whatever they are charged with.
- The right to testify on his or her own behalf;
- The privilege against self-incrimination;
- The right to present witnesses;
- The right to confront and cross-examine accusers;
- The right to use the subpoena power of the court to compel witnesses to attend court.
In order to get the protection of the consent calendar, the juvenile must admit responsibility for the crimes they are charged with. The judge does not enter adjudication. The court then comes up with a case plan for each juvenile. The case plan normally involves providing services to the juvenile to help rehabilitate them, and teach them not to commit more crimes in the future. Once the case plan is successfully completed the court must close the case and can destroy all records of the proceeding.
If the juvenile does not follow the case plan, or for any other reason the court finds that the consent calendar is no longer in the best interests of the juvenile or society, the case will be transferred back to the formal calendar. Once the case is transferred to the formal calendar, the juvenile regains all of the rights they waived by joining the consent calendar.
The court may transfer the case from the formal calendar to the consent calendar, or visa versa, at any time before disposition.
The consent calendar is a good option for a juvenile when:
- It is their first offense;
- The incident was an isolated event and it is unlikely the juvenile will get in trouble again;
- The juvenile admits they did what they are being charged with and shows a willingness to stay out of trouble in the future;
- The juvenile needs services and monitoring by the court.
*Not all cases can be removed from the formal docket. Felonies and serious misdemeanors must be petitioned to be removed from the formal docket. The court must give notice to the prosecutor and the victim of the crime and allow them a chance to address the court about the removal before it can be done.
For more information on juvenile cases, contact Samantha Moffett at 248-624-5500 or Samantha@ambroselawgroup.com.