Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Vermont’s purpose clause for juvenile judicial proceedings, effective 2009, retains some parens patriae language, phrases from the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Court Acts (1969) of the due process era, and phrases from the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) were also noted.  The clause meets criteria for BARJ as it assures balanced attention to community protection, accountability to victims and the community, and competency development.  It also states that the juvenile [code] supercedes provisions of criminal law if inconsistent.

33 VT ST §5101

Intake and diversion, 2016

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

In Vermont, when law enforcement issues a citation to appear before a judicial officer in lieu of arrest, the state’s attorney (DA) will file a petition at least 10 days before the preliminary hearing. The attorney general administers diversion programs that comport with rules adapted from Vermont’s Commission on the Administration of Justice. Each DA works with the diversion project to develop clear criteria for deciding what types of offenses are eligible for reparative board or community justice (BARJ) programs.

After the petition for delinquency is filed and the court finds probable cause, the DA has discretion to refer the matter to diversion programs before adjudication.  Diversion programs are considered alternatives to incarceration. The child may be subject to protective supervision as part of a conditional custody order, where the Department for Children and Families monitors compliance. Following successful completion of the diversion program, the state attorney can withdraw the petition and the court automatically seals records after two years when there are no new or further proceedings or subsequent felony or misdemeanor convictions.

No statutory time limit/s for court diversions exist.

In Vermont, time limits for diversion are not specified in statute.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by legislature

Vermont statute 33 V.S.A. § 5123 (eff. 5/21/09) relates to transportation, requiring agency supervisory approval to use mechanical restraints for each child, and states further that “It is the policy of the State of Vermont that mechanical restraints are not routinely used on children subject to this chapter unless circumstances dictate that such methods are necessary.”  This statute must be considered indirectly, as it does not specifically mention the courtroom, where judges maintain discretion.

Competency, 2015

In Vermont, the supreme court held that “an incompetent juvenile cannot be found delinquent without violating the basic concepts of due process of law” [In re J.M., Juvenile, 769 A.2d 656 (2001)]. Court Rules for Family Proceedings refers to Criminal Court Rule/s that permits the (juvenile) court to order “reasonable mental examination by a psychiatrist or other expert’ when the defendant gives notice that sanity is at issue or other expert testimony relating to a mental disease, or defect or any other mental condition of the defendant bearing upon the issue of his guilt.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015

Does not register

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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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