Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Both Louisiana’s overall juvenile court purpose clause (1992) and separate delinquency purpose clause (1993) retain some parens patriae language from the Standard Juvenile Court Act of 1959.  Articles accord due process to parent/s and child/ren overall and "for each child accused of delinquency."

LA Children's Code Art 102; 801

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

In Louisiana, when a law enforcement (peace) officer (LEO) takes custody, the LEO notifies the district attorney (DA) or an officer designated by the court within 24 hours when a court order is not first obtained.  Instanter orders must be obtained to take custody of youth related to a Families in Need of Service (FINS) status offense allegation. Youth charged with felonious acts, if detained, must initially be held in a secure facility. The officer must submit an affidavit of probable cause to the court within 24 hours.  If the juvenile is placed in secure custody, a hearing must occur within 24 hours related to FINS, or within 3 days for delinquent youth. If held in non-secure custody, a hearing must be held within 3 days (excluding weekends, etc.).

Otherwise, authorized persons can file petitions (complaints), which are screened by court intake probation officers (JPO's) for legal sufficiency.  Petitions from the DA are not subject to intake screening or authorization to initiate judicial involvement. Prior to authorizing the petition, the DA or the JPO with consent of the DA may authorize an informal adjustment agreement related to delinquent allegations or an informal family services plan agreement for FINS allegations. Monitoring by a JPO is known as "informal unsupervised or supervised probation" and FINS agreements typically include services and case management.  Agreements can be written before the juvenile's plea is entered and the child and parents must consent to conditions while petitions remain pending. 

The court can extend the agreement in 6 month intervals for up to two years. If the child satisfies the terms of the agreement, s/he shall be discharged from further supervision, and the pending complaint or petition is dismissed with prejudice.   Upon motion of the DA, the court will dismiss the petition. The court may also vacate adjudications prior to disposition.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

In Louisiana, court diversion agreements can be monitored initially for up to 6 months and extended by the court at 6 month intervals for up to two years.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

Competency, 2015

Louisiana has a chapter in its Children’s Code (of statutes) devoted to “mental incapacity to proceed,” which aligns with the Dusky standard. Sections include procedures for court proceedings (including adjudication, disposition, and transfer) evaluations, and reviews. If competency is not restored within 3 years of the initial “contradictory hearing” the judge may either: dismiss the delinquency petition; adjudicate as a “child in need of service” (and order related dispositions); or otherwise place the child in the custody of family or a facility with outpatient treatment. If the court determines that the child, “as a result of mental illness, is dangerous to himself or others or gravely disabled and incapable and unlikely to become capable”, civil mental health proceedings may occur, but youth cannot be discharged without further order of court. [what did apply to transfer proceeding mean for 2013?

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


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Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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