In this short video, Robert Ernenwein, a South Bay Criminal Defense Attorney with 30+ years of experience defending clients in court, discusses the Juvenile Justice system and his approach and strategy to cases involving defendants under 18 years of age.
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So, if you’re a parent, as I am of five children, and you love and support your child, it is tragic and it’s so traumatizing when a child, and when I say child, I mean any minor under the age of 18, is being investigated for, or has been charged with, a criminal case whether it be a misdemeanor or felony. It’s extremely worrisome. And the reality is that the criminal justice system has particular rules for juveniles.
The juvenile court system is really separate and apart from the normal criminal justice system. The good news is is that there’s a lot of options. There are diversion programs, there are deferred entry of judgment programs. Very often we’re even able to keep these cases completely out of the juvenile justice system and divert them to the probation department.
Every case is different and so the approaches all become different, but certain things are always absolutely the same. Number one is that when you’re dealing with a child, you have to take the ultimate care and you have to vigorously defend their rights and you have to keep in mind that whatever result you reach, you want to make sure that they transition to adulthood, if possible, without any criminal record that might follow them, that could prejudice them on a college application or a future employment application.
If you retain me to represent your child, I get it. I understand that you are placing the custody and care of your child in my hands in terms of their legal situation. I have five children myself and I understand the love, the dedication that a parent has toward their child. And, whenever your child gets into trouble, whether they’re being investigated for a crime or they’ve been charged with a crime, it is so overwhelmingly traumatizing. It is such a tremendous worry that when you make a decision to hire a lawyer, you want to make sure that lawyer gets it, and they understand that you’re placing your child’s future, their potential record, whether or not they get into college or ultimately obtain the job that they want, in your hands and that your handling of the case and the result that’s obtained in the case could have devastating effects on the child if it’s not handled correctly.
So I get it and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. So I will meet with your son or daughter with you. I will completely understand the case I will personally make the court appearances. I will reach out to the district attorney’s office. I will try to divert the case out of the criminal justice system to the probation department. If we end up in court I’ll try to find that deferred entry of judgment program or diversion program that will result in a successful resolution of the case without a finding of guilt.
No lawyer can make you a guarantee in the case, but I want you to understand that my personal dedication to your child will be immeasurable and will be complete.
In terms of my experience, I’m a former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney. I was a prosecutor. I’ve been representing juvenile clients in juvenile court for over three decades. I’m board certified in criminal law so this is something that I have the professional experience to handle.
But more than that, I think my personal experience as a husband and a father of five, provides me the insight and the personal experience to be able to help a young person, and to be able to walk hand in hand with the parents of that young person through this sometimes, oftentimes, very traumatizing process.