Arraignment is the hearing that is conducted immediately after filing a petition. This is done so that the minor and the parents can be informed of the charges against the juvenile as well as the right to get a lawyer and at the same time to set and announce the next hearing date. It is during this hearing that the court rules whether to release the juvenile pending the following hearing or to detain, as well as ordering the any restrictions deemed necessary upon the juvenile (Dinitz, 1972, p. 39).
This is the same stage when the juvenile may be ordered by the court to possibly participate, as an alternative to other court actions, in a diversion program. The diversion committee will then develop a program that can include community service, mediation, counseling, or restitution for the minor. This can involve suspension of court action for a maximum of three months so that the juvenile can have ample time to finish the diversion program (Albert, 2004, p. 92).
However, if any where along this time frame the juvenile fails or dishonors the diversion program, the court automatically calls back the case from the provisions of the diversion. Completion of such diversion (which also may include up to 50 hours of unpaid community service in the area the crime was committed) disposes the charges against the juvenile. On the other hand, adjudicatory hearing is the part in the fact finding process in which the judge (of the District Court) must digest the facts provided to make a determination of the truthfulness or falsity of the charges.
It involves testimony hearing as well as exhibits admission. This is what is called trial in adult cases. The judge, after careful analysis of both sides, will make temporary ruling that regard the juvenile’s placement (or continued detention) if the charge is determined true beyond any reasonable doubts. The date of the final disposition is then set and at the same time the juvenile is allowed the opportunity of electing a submission of his/her acknowledgement concerning the adjudicatory hearing rights in lieu (Nelson, 1998, p. 76).
At the time of the deposition hearing, the District court determines the place of confinement and the consequences to be imposed on the juvenile if any are to be. In adult court this is what is referred to as sentencing. The essence is to ascertain whether the minor requires services or it is the public that needs some kind of court-ordered supervision, and if that is the case then the type of placement or supervision to be imposed.
This is also the time when the judge hears testimonies from professional personnel such as psychiatrists, educational, or medical, children affairs state Divisions, among other relevant organizations in order to understand the most crucial recommendation that may be presented. The other right that must be accorded the juvenile is he right to appeal to any ruling by the District Court judge to the Supreme Court within 30 days since the time of the ruling. Until such an appeal is resolved, the District Court’s ruling will remain effectively in force.