The Council for Court Excellence has published a Guide to the D.C. Juvenile Justice System that is designed to explain to the public how the system operates.
The guide, the first of its kind, discusses how a case moves from arrest to discharge, what roles various government and non-governmental agencies and individuals play, and what rights victims of juvenile crime have.
The CCE’s guide grew out of an effort to improve the juvenile justice system in Washington, but before long, the board realized that few people understood how it worked in the first place, says Marie Johns, the chairwoman of the council’s board.
In a statement, Robert Spagnoletti, a partner at Schertler & Onorato who led the committee that produced the guide, said "Last year nearly 3,400 youth were prosecuted in the D.C. Superior Court's juvenile court. For these youth and their families, the system has been utterly bewildering. They have had to rely on information gained in a haphazard fashion and often by word-of-mouth. The information in this guide will be a great help to youth and their families, but it will be just as important to victims of juvenile crime, who also need to know how things work."
Electronic copies of the guide may be obtained by downloading it here.