Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 15. Formal Proceeding -- Hearing -- Disposition

Adjudicatory Hearing

41-5-1502. Adjudicatory hearing. (1) Prior to any adjudicatory hearing, the court shall determine whether the youth admits or denies the offenses alleged in the petition. If the youth denies all offenses alleged in the petition, the youth or the youth's parent, guardian, or attorney may demand a jury trial on the contested offenses. In the absence of a demand, a jury trial is waived. If the youth denies some offenses and admits others, the contested offenses may be dismissed in the discretion of the youth court judge. The adjudicatory hearing must be set immediately and accorded a preferential priority.

(2) An adjudicatory hearing must be held to determine whether the contested offenses are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt in cases involving a youth alleged to be delinquent or in need of intervention. If the hearing is before a jury, the jury's function is to determine whether the youth committed the contested offenses. If the hearing is before the youth court judge without a jury, the judge shall make and record findings on all issues. If the allegations of the petitions are not established at the hearing, the youth court shall dismiss the petition and discharge the youth from custody.

(3) Prior to an adjudicatory hearing before a jury, the court shall conduct an omnibus hearing in accordance with 46-13-110.

(4) The jury trial must be conducted in accordance with Title 46, chapter 16.

(5) An adjudicatory hearing must be recorded verbatim by whatever means the court considers appropriate.

(6) The youth charged in a petition must be present at the hearing and, if brought from detention to the hearing, may not appear clothed in institutional clothing.

(7) In a hearing on a petition under this section, the general public may not be excluded, except that in the court's discretion, the general public may be excluded if the petition alleges that the youth is in need of intervention.

(8) If, on the basis of a valid admission by a youth of the allegations of the petition or after the hearing required by this section, a youth is found to be a delinquent youth or a youth in need of intervention, the court shall schedule a dispositional hearing under this chapter.

(9) When a jury trial is required in a case, it may be held before a jury selected as provided in Title 25, chapter 7, part 2, and in Rule 47, M.R.Civ.P.

History: En. 10-1220 by Sec. 20, Ch. 329, L. 1974; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 100, L. 1977; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 344, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 10-1220; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 668, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 469, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 466, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 26, Ch. 286, L. 1997; amd. Secs. 30, 76, Ch. 550, L. 1997; Sec. 41-5-521, MCA 1995; redes. 41-5-1502 by Sec. 47, Ch. 286, L. 1997.