Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center

Juvenile Court Appeals

Just like adults who are sentenced in criminal court, minors in California Juvenile Delinquency Court are entitled to challenge court orders by filing appeals. Also like criminal court, there are strict timelines that govern the appeal process and missing a deadline could result in a forfeiture of the minor’s appeal rights.

Juvenile Rehearing

In California, a minor can request a rehearing of a matter handled by a commissioner or referee within 10 days of the Court Clerk’s mailing of a copy of the Court’s findings and order. The application for a rehearing must be received by the Court within 10 days of the issuance of the order. Applications for rehearing can be made in person at the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office.

Once a request for a rehearing has been requested, the Judge must read the transcripts of the juvenile court proceedings and issue a decision within 20 days, or 45 days if there is good cause for delay. If the Judge fails to issue a decision within this period, a rehearing will automatically be granted. The application for a rehearing can be made by written motion or by letter brief to the Presiding Judge of Juvenile Court and must contain specific reasons justifying why a rehearing should be granted.

Right to Appeal

If the case was heard by a Juvenile Court judge or if a judge denies the request for a rehearing, the minor can then file a formal appeal. The notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days from when the final order was issued or 30 days from the date of mailing of the notification of denial of rehearing, whichever is greater. The notice of appeal is filed in the Juvenile Court and not with the Court of Appeal. The notice must specify what the minor is appealing, whether the appeal is for the entire order or just part of the order and the notice of appeal must be signed by the minor or her or her attorney. Any cross-appeal must be filed within 60 days of the order being appealed or 20 days of the clerk sending out the notice of appeal.

The Juvenile Appeal Process

After a notice of appeal has been filed, the juvenile court clerk must prepare a transcript of the proceedings within 20 days and serve it on all parties. The Court can request a time extension to prepare the transcript but the extensions may not exceed a total of 60 days.

The parties are given an opportunity to file legal briefs in support of their arguments. The appellant, who files the brief, will file an opening brief and the respondent will file its response brief. The appellant is then allowed to file a reply brief. The opening brief must be filed and served on all parties within 40 days after the record is filed with the Court. Respondent then has 30 days to file a response brief and the appellant can file a reply brief within 20 days. Any party can request an extension of time to file if there is good cause.

The parties have a right to oral arguments at the Court of Appeals. This is optional and the parties do not need to present an oral argument. The reviewing court will send notice of argument at least 20 days before the scheduled date. If there is no oral argument, the appellate court will decide the case based on the briefs and the record presented. If an oral argument is presented, each party is allotted 30 minutes to argue their case.

Once a case has been submitted, the appellate panel has 90 days to decide the appeal. The appellate clerk will mail out a notice of the decision once it is available. The Court of Appeals decision becomes final after 30 days unless any of the parties file a petition for rehearing, a petition for review by the California Supreme Court or the Appeals Court issues a remittitur which transfers the case back to Juvenile Court.