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An Overview of the Utah Juvenile Courts


The Juvenile Court is a court of special jurisdiction. It includes 29 full-time judges and 1.5 commissioners. The Juvenile Court is of equal status with the District Court. You can learn more about the juvenile court judges in the Gallery of Judges. To determine which district you live in, use the Judicial District Locator Map.

The Juvenile Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over youths, under 18 years of age, who violate any federal, state or municipal law, and any child who is abused, neglected or dependent. The court has the power to determine child custody, support and visitation in some circumstances; to permanently terminate parental rights, and to authorize or require treatment for mentally ill children or children with disabilities. The court may also place children under the supervision of the court's probation department; place children in the custody or care of foster homes, group homes, special treatment centers, or secure institutions. The Court works closely with the Office of Guardian ad Litem on cases involving abuse, neglect or dependency. The Court may also require children to pay fines or make restitution for damage or loss resulting from their delinquent acts. It also has jurisdiction over habitual truants, runaways and ungovernable youth if efforts by other social service agencies are not successful.

In addition, the Court has exclusive jurisdiction in traffic offenses involving minors related to automobile homicide, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, joy riding, and fleeing a police officer. It has concurrent jurisdiction with the District and Justice Courts over adults contributing to the delinquency and neglect of a minor.

Utah is served by 29 judges and 1.5 commissioners in its 8 judicial districts. The 10 judges in the 3rd District, which includes Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele Counties, are assisted by a commissioner. who is trained as an attorney. The four attorneys in 4 th District, which includes Juab, Millard, Utah, and Wasatch Counties, are assisted by a commissioner whose time is divided equally between juvenile and district court. Commissioners are attorneys who generally hear a variety of cases, ranging from traffic citations, truancy and protective custody to more serious crimes. Commissioners submit findings and recommendations to a judge in writing. If a party disagrees with a commissioner's ruling, a rehearing before a judge may be requested.

The Juvenile Court, unlike other state courts of record, administers a probation department. Probation officers prepare dispositional reports, supervise youth who have been placed on probation by the Court, conduct evaluations, and submit reports on the progress of each juvenile. A clerical division prepares the legal documents and maintains the official court record.

As a member of the Interstate Compact on Juveniles, the Court accepts supervision of juveniles who move to Utah from another state (who were under court supervision before moving). In turn, the court often requests another state to supervise juveniles who move while still under court supervision in Utah.

All appeals from the Juvenile Court are heard in the Court of Appeals.


Page Last Modified: 11/27/2012
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