When children are sentenced as “first time offenders” in Judge Ehrlich’s courtroom, they sometimes do not realize the potential for serious consequences for not complying with the Court’s Order and sentencing requirements, as opposed to defying a parent, school teacher or other person in authority’s request of them.
So, rather than allow them to have a formal Petition for Violation of Probation filed against them with its attendant more serious potential ramifications, Judge Ehrlich monitors every one of these first time offenders by holding what she calls a “60 day probation review hearing” following their final disposition/sentencing. This way, they know that they will be seeing their sentencing judge, two months after being placed on probation, to assure that they understand all of the conditions of their probations, they are taking the Court’s order of probation seriously and to assure that their juvenile probation officer is honoring their obligations to the child, as well.
IF they are not performing well with regard to minor issues, we can then work with the child.
IF the child is in substantial non-compliance, it is made clear to him/her what will happen if they do not adjust their behavior and how, immediately, if options still exist.
AND IF they are doing well, they are congratulated by the Court, the entire courtroom applauds their efforts, they are given a CERTIFICATE by Judge Ehrlich reflecting that:
“You should be proud of yourself.”
“You are honoring your obligations.”
“Keep up the GOOD work.”
And Judge Ehrlich invites them up to the Bench and shakes their hand and gives them and family members additional verbal kudos.
When children get into trouble for minor offenses, especially where they are first time offenders, they are often eligible for DIVERSION from prosecution and the formal court process or may have limited involvement with the courts.
If they honor their obligations by successfully completing a diversion program, the charges are dropped.
At such time, Judge Ehrlich has the entire courtroom applaud their success, has them approach the Bench to present them with a certificate that states: ” You are a Success Story. CONGRATULATIONS!” , shakes their hand and gives them the verbal “pat on the back” that they have earned.
Many of these children stand taller and prouder, as do some of their parents; smiles that are too rare in juvenile delinquency court, spread across their faces. They have earned respect. They are back on the right track and they have been recognized for doing the right thing, some thing that had been rare or nonexistent in some of their short lives, thus far.
Judge Ehrlich’ motto is: “Fair is fair and right is right”. They are honoring their obligations to themselves and to their community, and we, in turn, must be supportive of these positive efforts on their part. (click here for examples of certificates that Judge Ehrlich designed and pays for .)