This is the presentation of the case to the judge for a determination of guilt or innocence. At the conclusion of the hearing, or as soon thereafter as the judge can reach a decision, the verdict will be announced. If there is a “not guilty” verdict, the juvenile will be free to leave without any disposition. If there is a “guilty” verdict, the judge may proceed immediately to disposition or request a PDR be prepared.
Arraignment on Indictment / Arraignment Status Conference
The first appearance made by the defendant before a Superior Court Judge after indictment. The Assistant Prosecutor will advise the defendant of the indictment. The Judge reviews the indictment and discovery with the defendant. The defendant, through his/her attorney, then enters a guilty or not guilty plea to the charges. See Post Indictment Arraignment.
Once a juvenile has pled guilty or is found guilty, the court must determine the appropriate disposition for the juvenile. This can be done immediately or, if the judge feels there are extenuating circumstances, disposition can be deferred until a pre-disposition report has been completed.
Once a complaint is issued, defendants are either arrested or issued a summons to appear in Superior Court on a first appearance. At the First Appearance incarcerated defendants can be released subject to conditions set by the court or held without bail because the state is seeking to detain the defendant without bail until trial. First Appearance hearings are held within 24 hours of arrest or issuance of a summons complaint for incarcerated defendants. First appearances are held no more than 60 days after arrest or issuance of a summons for non-incarcerated defendants. At the first hearing in Municipal Court, defendants can enter a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea. If defendants plead “not guilty”, the matter will be scheduled for a trial, within 60 days. A defendant who pleads ‘not guilty’ may plead or be found guilty at a later time.
At this court appearance, the juvenile offender will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the juvenile chooses to plead guilty, the judge may proceed immediately to the disposition (sentencing) phase of the case.
Pre-Disposition Report (PDR)
A confidential report prepared by the Probation Dept. for the judge to use in deciding upon an appropriate disposition for a juvenile. This report consists of a summary of the juvenile’s background, offense information, a Victim Impact Statement, and other material required to determine disposition.
If, at the plea hearing, the juvenile pled “not guilty”, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled. At this time, the juvenile has a second opportunity to plead guilty to the offense. If the juvenile chooses not to plead guilty, the case will go forward to adjudication (trial). If the juvenile chooses to plead guilty at this stage, the judge may immediately proceed to the disposition phase of the case.