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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

RULES OF JUVENILE PROCEDURE

[ADOPTED FEBRUARY 1, 1983; EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1984]

II. Prehearing Procedures.

Rule 12. Intake in Delinquent and Unruly Cases. -

(a) Purposes. The juvenile court intake program shall be designed to do all of the following:

(1) To provide for resolution of complaints and petitions at intake by excluding or diverting from the juvenile process at its inception:

(i) Those matters over which the juvenile court has no jurisdiction;

(ii) Those matters in which there appears to be insufficient evidence to support the petition; and

(iii) Those matters in which sufficient evidence may exist to bring a child within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court but which are not serious enough to require official action under the juvenile court law or which may be suitable referred to a nonjudicial agency available in the community;

(2) To provide for a program of informal supervision of the child in those cases where the child is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and official intervention short of formal adjudication seems desirable;

(3) To provide for the screening of cases for detention as provided in Rule 5; and

(4) To provide for the commencement of proceedings in the juvenile court by the filing of a petition only when necessary for the welfare of the child or the safety and protection of the public.

(b) Informal Adjustment. If there is sufficient evidence to bring the child within the jurisdiction of the court, and following advisement of rights to the child and the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, including the right to an attorney at this and all other stages of the proceeding, upon recommendation of the designated court officer the matter may be held open and the designated court officer may attempt, with the consent of the child and the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, to make satisfactory informal adjustment as provided in Rule 14.

(c) Intake Duties. In addition to the duties otherwise provided by law, the designated court officer at the initial interview shall have the following duties in delinquent cases and cases in which an unruly child is alleged to have violated a valid court order:

(1) The officer shall immediately advise the child of the following rights:

(i) That the child has a right to an attorney;

(ii) That if the child is unable to hire an attorney and if the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian has not provided an attorney, one can be provided at no charge to the child;

(iii) That the child is not required to say anything and that anything the child says may be used against him or her; and

(iv) If the child's parent, guardian, legal custodian or attorney is not present, that the child has a right to communicate with them and that, if necessary, reasonable means will be provided to do so.

(2) Unless the child waives the right to an attorney as hereinafter provided, when the child advises the designated court officer that the child cannot afford an attorney and the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian refuses to provide an attorney, the designated court officer shall request that an attorney be promptly appointed by the court.

(3) If the child indicates that he or she has or is able to retain an attorney, or if the parents or guardians indicate that they will provide an attorney, the designated court officer shall note the name of the attorney, if known, in the record of the child.

Advisory Commission Comments.

There is obviously room for local discretion in regard to the specific duties and functions, within the boundaries of the law and these rules, of youth services officers and other designated court intake officers. See, however, the comments to Rules 2, 5, 8, 19, and 21 on this issue. Depending upon the number of youth services officers or other persons available in a county to perform the intake function, it may be advisable to develop local rules to govern the scope of the duties and functions of youth services officers in general, and of persons designated to act as intake officers in particular.

See Rule 30(i) regarding the assessment of the cost of attorney's fees against parents who are not indigent.

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