Understanding the Court
The Sixth Division hears all juvenile related circuit court cases in Jefferson and Lincoln Counties.
The Sixth Division is part of the Jefferson-Lincoln County Circuit Court system, which is also known as the 11th Judicial District West, consisting of Jefferson and Lincoln Counties.
While on equal footing with other divisions of the circuit court system, Division Six is unique. All cases involving juvenile offenders or other juvenile matters which come before a circuit court in Jefferson or Lincoln counties are assigned to Division Six. Judge Earnest E. Brown, Jr. presides over the court.
Because of this case assignment protocol, Division Six is frequently referred to as “Juvenile Court,” and the presiding judge of the court is frequently referred to as the “Juvenile Judge.”
There is good reason to assign juvenile cases to one court organized and staffed to handle these cases. Laws governing how juvenile cases are handled mandate certain confidentiality requirements not imposed on adult cases. Juvenile offenders must also be incarcerated separately from adult offenders.
Meeting legal requirements
To effectively meet these and other unique legal requirements in handling juvenile cases, and to properly and legally afford juvenile offenders their full rights in the legal system, by mutual agreement among the courts of the 11th Judicial District West, juvenile cases are assigned to Division Six.
Meeting societal responsibilities
Juvenile Court is the entry-level, first exposure that many young people will have to the American legal system. It is only at this level that the legal system can take on an additional responsibility of making the first exposure to the system, the one and only.
Understanding this one-time opportunity, the Court strives to help youthful offenders understand the system and the consequences of staying out of the system versus returning as a youthful offender and later in life as an adult offender.
Types of cases heard by the court
The court hears three types of juvenile cases. Click on the case type below for more information.
- Juvenile delinquency– Cases in which a minor has violated the law and has been arrested.
Family in need of services
- (FINS)– Cases in which a petition has been filed by an adult family member, prosecuting attorney, school official or other interested party.
- Department of Human Services dependency neglect cases.
On rare occasions, the court may also hear adult criminal or civil litigation cases normally assigned to other division of the court when a conflict of interest causes a presiding judge to recuse from a specific matter before the court.