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Juvenile Court Judge

Term: 8 yearsJuvenile court judges interpret and enforce juvenile criminal laws that are set by local or state governments, issue juvenile warrants, detain and or release juveniles from custody, and determine sentences for crimes involving juveniles. They also decide cases where there are allegations of abuse or neglect.

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    Rob Philyaw

Información Biográfica

What are the most important traits/characteristics for a juvenile court judge to possess?

Please list your experience with cases in juvenile court either as a GAL (an attorney representing the best interest of the child) or as an attorney representing parties in juvenile court proceedings.

What do you see as the primary role of juvenile court?

Please rank these factors by order of most (1) to least (7) importance in deciding whether to try a minor as an adult: age of alleged perpetrator; age of alleged victim; seriousness of the crime; adverse childhood experiences of alleged perpetrator; juvenile record (if any) of alleged perpetrator; mental health status of alleged perpetrator; likelihood of rehabilitation of alleged perpetrator within the juvenile justice system.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for the juvenile justice system today?

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There are many necessary traits for a juvenile court judge. Among the most important things for any judge are to work hard, live with integrity, and treat everyone with fairness and respect. Judges must follow the law and apply the facts of each case to the law. In doing so, each litigant needs to know they were heard and the judge listened to their position. Juvenile Court judges must do those things as well as foster relationships with all of the volunteers and agencies who work with families.
Prior to taking the role of Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge in May, 2013, I represented children, youth, and parents in almost every aspect of the types of proceedings coming before the Court.
While I have a dedicated staff of almost 100 professionals, I realize that the Court can’t deliver all the services needed. The juvenile justice system and the child welfare system includes all of the public and private entities that serve youth, who are equipped to address specific needs of each family. We try every day to meet the families where they are, help them through any crisis, and promote the best interests and welfare of the children who are involved.
The decision of whether a child should be transferred to the adult criminal justice system is one of the most important decisions any judge can make and all of the above may be used by counsel to advocate for our against transfer. The Court is bound by TCA 37-1-134 which includes most of the above and TJRPP R. 308. Every child charged with an offense has an attorney experienced in such matters representing him or her. Transfer from the juvenile justice proceeding to adult criminal court is rare in Hamilton County and granted only after a full hearing and consideration.
The biggest challenge for Youth in the Tennessee juvenile justice system today is accessing the necessary services to ensure success. Before placing the child in an out-of-home placement for treatment, attempts are made to secure the proper treatment in the community. When further placement is required, the State of Tennessee is charged with providing the services. Placement options within the state have decreased in recent years and treatment periods have been shortened. It is a challenge.