There are 88 Juvenile Courts in the state of Ohio, one for every county.
Matters of jurisdiction include delinquency, unruliness, traffic violations, child neglect, child abuse, dependent children, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and, in some instances, paternity, child support and child custody.
Jurisdiction is extended to children ages birth to eighteen years of age (disabled youth enjoy extended jurisdiction) who are either legal residents of Geauga County, or have allegedly committed an offense within Geauga County. Although jurisdiction in matters of delinquency can extend until a youth’s 21st birthday, the delinquent act MUST have been committed prior to the youth’s eighteenth birthday.
The Geauga County Juvenile Court consists of one Judge (Timothy J. Grendell), one Magistrate, the Court Administrator (Kim Laurie), one Constable (John Ralph), clerical and administrative staff, and a Probation Department.
The Probation Department consists of the Director of Probation (Beth Williams), two Probation Officers (Stephanie Voss and Heather Mountsier), and one Intake Officer/Diversion Program Coordinator.
- INTAKE SERVICES
- refers to the gatekeeping function within the Court system. The Intake Officer screens all complaints and referrals for diversion consideration, and handles all court related pre and post hearing responsibilities of clients not placed on probation. The Intake Officer also facilitates the Early Truancy Intervention Program, an offshoot of the Diversion Program, and the School SMART Program.
- PROBATION SERVICES
- refer to the court ordered assignment of the Probation status to a client. Clients sign and are expected to adhere to the Court’s standardized Conditions of Probation, which are often further individualized to meet client needs. Probation Officers monitor client behavior and accountability while acting as service brokers.
- DIVERSION SERVICES
- refers to the handling of specific matters outside of the formal courtroom. Discretion to divert cases is provided for in the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure. Diversion Services include the Early Truancy Intervention Program and the School SMART Program; both components are aimed at intervening in matters of alleged delinquency and unruliness for first time and/or youthful offenders absent the stigma of establishing an official court record.
ADDITIONAL COURT SERVICES:
- Drug Testing - completed by hair analysis
- Community Service - clients are ordered to “replace the void” their offense created in society by performing a specifically designated number of hours working at a non-profit organization, either located by the clients or as a part of the Court’s organized Community Service Work Crew
- Restitution - victims of delinquent acts where damages were incurred are offered the opportunity for financial reimbursement of actual replacement/restoration costs - court ordered payments are monitored by the Court
- Intensive Supervision - provides an additional layer of randomly imposed supervision to clients identified at a high risk to recidivate
- Electronic Monitoring - clients ordered on electronically supervised house arrest wear an ankle bracelet which monitors their whereabouts around the clock
- Mediation Services - Court staff facilitate a face to face session between victims and offenders promoting empathy and emotional restoration
- Wrap Around - provides funding for creative solutions to intervene with court involved clients
- Victim Advocacy Services - offered in conjunction with the County Prosecutor’s Office for victims of violent or felony level crimes
- Court Constable - provides assistance to jurists and court staff in any and all capacities as needed, including but not limited to: court security backup; process server; case monitor/enforcer; community outreach
- Mediation Services - Geauga County Juvenile Court has a court mediator. Cases may be referred to the mediator for resolution for visitation and custody purposes. Mediation will involve the parties sitting down at the table with the mediator and together resolving disputes. Those mediations will involve the parties to the case only, and will be required to deposit $250.00 each. Mediation will be billed at $150.00 per hour split evenly by the parties.
OTHER COURT RELATED SERVICES:
- Portage Geauga Detention Center - located in Shalersville, Ohio, this is a locked, secure facility accessible by jurist order only for youth either adjudicated delinquent or taken into custody by a law enforcement entity with judicial approval - offers psychological testing and related services as ordered
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - provides guardians ad litem to abused, neglected and dependent clients as well as some unruly and delinquent clients
- Bailiffs - the Court boasts a dedicated staff of bailiffs, supervised by John Ralph