Making Sure There's Probable Cause In Youth Arrests
New Hamilton County Juvenile Court policies are in place after the Children's Law Center and the County settled a 2014 lawsuit filed by the Covington non-profit legal service.
At that time, lead attorney Rickell Howard said, the county was routinely arresting and detaining youths without probable cause. Probable cause is a judicial finding that a crime has been committed, and the person cited has probably committed the crime.
"Without a finding of probable cause, children could be sent to jail on the whim of a teacher or a police officer, or even by a simple mistake or misunderstanding, and no one - including the judge who is assigned to do so - would take a second look at the cause until hours, days, or even weeks later," according to Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children's Law Center.
The new policies include:
- Updated detention center policies related to complaint and warrant processing.
- Revised training for intake clerks.
- Ccreation of a duty magistrate on call 24 hours a day.
- Collaboration with local police departments.
Both sides are still discussing what can be done about racial disparities and the large number of youth arrests in Hamilton County.