31-32-2 Juvenile Rights in Delinquency Proceedings
The Constitutional guarantees and procedural safeguards in place for the accused juvenile are essentially the same as for an adult defendant, except that all matters in Juvenile Court are tried before the Court, without a jury. In a delinquency proceeding, the juvenile has the following rights:
(1) to know the nature of the allegations against the juvenile;
(2) to be represented by counsel;
(3) to have a speedy trial;
(4) to confront witnesses against him;
(5) to cross-examine witnesses against him;
(6) to obtain witnesses or tangible evidence by compulsory process;
(7) to introduce evidence on his own behalf;
(8) to refrain from testifying against himself;
(9) to have the State of Indiana by the Prosecuting Attorney prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the delinquent act charged.
The child and the parent must be informed of these rights at the Detention Hearing or the Initial Hearing, whichever occurs first.
The Juvenile Court can appoint an attorney (Public Defender) to represent the juvenile, without any cost to the juvenile, if the juvenile desires one. If the court does allow a Public Defender, at the time of disposition the court may require the parents to reimburse the county for all or part of the costs for legal representation.
A juvenile can waive his right to an attorney if that waiver is joined by his/her custodial parent, guardian, or custodian. The juvenile's parent, guardian, or custodian must have no adverse interest, and a meaningful consultation must be afforded before a waiver is effective.
There are no jury trials in Juvenile Court and the juvenile has no jury trial rights. All trials (Factfinding Hearings) are conducted by the Judge, who makes the ultimate determination of whether a delinquent act has been committed, as well as the appropriate punishment.