Sacramento Juvenile Courthouse
Located in Southwestern Sacramento, the Juvenile Courthouse serves as the main location for departments of the Sacramento Superior Court’s Juvenile Delinquency Division. In addition to handling juvenile trials and hearings, the Courthouse also provides pretrial hearings for juveniles who are to be tried as adults. They also manage support processes such as calendar preparation, payment of fines and case processing.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
Parties who receive a citation and are required to visit the Courthouse should generally appear at the time and location given on that form. Failure to do so may constitute a violation of the law. However if questions arise regarding time, place, location, etc. the Sacramento Juvenile Courthouse’s website (http://www.saccourt.ca.gov/locations/jch.aspx) provides a convenient lookup feature for both civil and criminal cases. (There is a nominal service charge associated with all internet lookups.) Upon arrival at the Courthouse there is a brief security screening procedure, after which one can proceed directly either to their assigned courtroom or to one of the auxiliary service departments. In the event of a criminal trial, it is best to arrive early and wait patiently for the judge to arrive.
If the child is currently in detention at Juvenile Hall then they will receive a detention hearing within 72 hours, whereas if they are not they will only be receiving an arraignment. The purpose of the detention hearing is for the judge to determine if the minor is to be kept in detention, is free to go with no restrictions, or is to be released under some form of home monitoring. The detention hearing also contains an arraignment phase where the court will appoint an attorney if one cannot be afforded and then read the charges against the minor. At this point the judge can also set bail as a condition of release. Bail constitutes a predetermined amount of money the defendant must provide to the court in order to avoid having to return to pre-trial custody. The money effectively serves as a guarantee against the defendant becoming a fugitive. Should the amount of the bail prove too high for the defendant or their family, several bail bond companies exist in Sacramento to help with such a situation. Generally these companies agree to provide the sum total of the bail amount to the court in exchange for a small percentage paid directly to them by the defendant. Bail bond companies can be extremely helpful in situations where families cannot normally make bail. However it is important to make sure that the bail bond company in question is fully licensed.
Future of the Juvenile Courthouse
There are currently plans to replace the 40-year old Courthouse with a more modern complex. Capital Engineering Consultants, Inc. of Rancho Cordova, CA, have provided plans on their website (http://www.capital-engineering.com/expertise/markets/criminal_justice/05-sacjuvcourt.html) for a new three-story building that is integrated with the adjecent juvenile detention facility via a visitor’s center that is connected by a transfer tunnel to the housing wings.