Juvenile Court

Juvenile Court Information
Juvenile Judge
Hon. Mike Medlock

220 South 4th, Suite A
Van Buren, Arkansas 72956
: 479-471-3290 (office)
: 479-471-3292 (fax)

Administrative Assistant
: Linda Walker
Office Supervisor & Intake Officer:
Erin Mata
Probation Officers:
Chief Probation Officer/Truancy Officer
Eric Flute
Lacy McCain
Marlena Mainzer
David Harp
Administrative Assistants:
Marisa Canada
Vivian Sharp
Juvenile Office Numbers
: 479-474-5049 (office)
: 479-471-3238 (fax)
: 479-471-3241 (fax)

Important Documents
: Social History Intake Document

Juvenile Court

Welcome to Crawford County Juvenile Court, the Honorable Mike Medlock presiding. Juvenile Court is responsible for adjudicating matters regarding minors. Crimes committed by children and minors are treated differently than the same crimes committed by adults. This practice is followed in order to give young, impressionable youth a second chance. Juvenile Cases generally fall into two major categories: Delinquency and Family In Need of Services (FINS).


Intake is the first step in the Juvenile Court process. When a juvenile is cited with a delinquent charge, the juvenile meets with the Juvenile Intake officer. The purpose of the Intake is to advise the juvenile of their rights, discuss the charges or complaint against them and to gather background information on the family to ensure the Court orders the appropriate services during the adjudication.

Judge Ordered Services
The possible services the Judge will order include the following: Probation, community service, fines, counseling, drug and alcohol classes/treatment, electronic monitoring, house arrest, detention in a juvenile detention facility, cormnitment to the Division of Youth Services (DYS). Intake services also include at the discretion of intake officer and juvenile prosecutor diversion programs for select, first time, non-violent offenders. Diversion programs include, but are not limited to: Counseling, educational programs and supervision.
Delinquency cases may be filed against the juvenile when the juvenile is age 10 to 17.

Delinquency includes any criminal act (not including traffic and game and fish violations) if committed by an adult, or minors in possession of handguns. The prosecuting attorney files a petition with the court and the juvenile and his/her parents are made defendants and must answer to the court.


Family In Need of Services (FINS) cases may be filed when a child's behavior includes such acts as running away, being truant or being disobedient to his/her parents and it is brought to the attention ofthe juvenile authorities, often by parents or school officials. The goal of a FINS case is to work out a course of action to stop these problems. FINS cases also include kids who commit crimes who are under 10 and kids who have mental health and alcohol and drug related problems.

What is a FINS Petition?
FINS is a legal document (Petition) filed with the Juvenile Office and Prosecuting Attorney, alleging the following (but not limited to):
  • Being habitually and without justification absent from school while subject to compulsory school attendance. (TRUANCY) *Note: Petition to be filed ONLY after number of absences exceeds school policy)
  • Being habitually disobedient to the lawful commands of parent, guardian, custodian, or school officials. (DISOBEDIENCE)
  • Having absented themselves from the home without sufficient cause, permission, or justification. (RUNAWAY)
  • Delinquent acts or crimes committed by a Juvenile under the age of 10 years old.
Who can file a FINS Petition?
FINS are typically filed by school officials, parent(s) or guardian(s), and law enforcement.

FINS can be filed by ANY adult; or ANY member 10 years old or older of the immediate family alleged to be in need of services.

Who must be notified when a FINS Petition is filed?
Both parents, even if divorced or separated.
The child or children as stated in the Petition.
Custodial adult(s) with whom the child or children are residing (domestic partners, relatives, roommates, etc.).

How do I file a file a FINS Petition?
  1. Contact the Juvenile Intake Officer.
  2. Submit a written statement of the facts, school records, etc. (ie. documentation for filing the Petition), which MUST be submitted with the Petition.
  3. The person stating these facts MUST be available for the first Court hearing to testify to the facts presented. Failure to appear at the Court hearing may result in dismissal of the FINS Petition.

Does a FINS change custody or guardianship between parent(s), relative(s), etc.?
Juvenile Division is not the proper Court to change custody of a child between family members. Custody proceedings are typically handled in Domestic Relations. In some cases the Judge may order temporary custody to another party if the need arises and can order a Juvenile be placed in the custody of DHHS.
What can the Court do with a FINS Petition?
If a Juvenile is found by the Court to be a member of a FINS, the Judge can place Juvenile on formal supervision and order services including out patient counseling, drug rehabilitation, residential treatment, and parent training classes. Such services and dispositions are intended to correct behavior and prevent any future problems.

The Judge may also order that a DHHS protective services case be opened.

Probation Officer is assigned to enforce Court’s Orders and supervise compliance with Terms and Conditions of Supervision (i.e., school attendance/discipline referrals, drug tests, counseling appointments, obeying parents, etc).

What can happen if a Juvenile violates Court Order or Terms and Conditions?

Judge can find a Juvenile in Contempt of Court and order further sanctions/ requirements/conditions and services, such as:

  • Extend Period of Formal Supervision
  • Community Service
  • Intensive Supervision & Tracking
  • Electronic Monitor
  • Counseling (Individual and/or Family)
  • Turning Point Theft Offender Program
  • Boot Camp
  • Group Home
  • Residential Treatment
  • Sentence to Juvenile Detention Center

Can parent(s) or guardian(s) be held accountable or punished by the Court?

Judge may find parent(s) or guardian(s) in Contempt of Court if they willfully violate a Court Order OR fail to ensure the Juvenile comply with his/her Orders. The Judge may punish parent(s) or guardian(s) by sentencing them to perform community service, jail time, or fined.

According to A.C.A. 9-27-325 (e)(2), the Court may order the father, mother, or child to submit to scientific testing for drug or alcohol abuse. Parent(s) may be held in Contempt for refusing to submit to a Court ordered drug screen.

Does the Juvenile or parent(s)/guardian(s) need an attorney?

It is the family’s right to hire private counsel. If they do not retain an attorney in the case, the Juvenile will be appointed to the Public Defender for a fee of $25 per case.

Please note the Public Defender represents the Juvenile and NOT the parent(s) or guardian(s). The interests of the parent(s) or guardian(s) may differ from those of their child.

If the parent(s) or guardian(s) are ordered by the Court to appear and show cause as to why they should not be held in Contempt, they can either represent themselves or hire a private attorney. The Public Defender is not appointed to parent(s) or guardian(s) in Juvenile Court.


Failure to attend school as required by law.

Educational Neglect
Failure of the parent or guardian to make sure their child attends school.

Potential results of truancy and educational neglect
  1. The child being placed on INFORMAL SUPERVISION with the Juvenile Intake Officer.
  2. The parent(s) and child being required to appear in JUVENILE COURT.
  3. The child being placed on FORMAL SUPERVISION through the Juvenile Court and being required to attend school regularly, with the potential of being charged with CONTEMPT OF COURT for failure to comply.
  4. The child being REMOVED FROM THE HOME and placed in the custody of a state agency, group home, community-based program, relative or other appropriate placement.
  5. The child AND family being required to submit to physical, psychiatric, and/or psychological EVALUATIONS.
  6. The child being placed in the PERMANENT CUSTODY OF ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL if it is proven that the parent(s)/guardian(s) have not complied with the law.
  7. The parent(s) being assessed COURT COSTS (ATTORNEY’S FEE).
  8. The parent(s) paying a FINE OF UP TO $500.00 for failure to ensure that the child attends school.
  9. The child being required to complete COMMUNITY SERVICE.
  10. The child and/or parent(s) being required to submit to random DRUG TESTING through the Juvenile Office.
  11. The parent(s) being required to complete PARENTING CLASSES .
  12. The child being placed on an ELECTRONIC MONITORING DEVICE (HOUSE ARREST).

Important Links

  • Comprehensive Juvenile Services, Inc.
    Serving youth and families in Sebastian, Crawford, Logan, Polk, Montgomery, Scott and Franklin Counties in Western Arkansas since 1976.
  • Arkansas Juvenile Officers Association
  • Arkansas Department of Human Services
    Arkansas DHS offers the “safety net” Arkansas families turn to when they are facing difficult times. DHS takes care of Arkansans of all ages ranging from infants to senior citizens.
  • Arkansas Juvenile Court Training & Education
    The AOC Juvenile Division is involved in many projects relating to children and families. Ongoing projects include drafting rules, forms, and sample orders; providing continuing legal education opportunities, training and technical assistance; coordinating grants to improve court practices; and providing ongoing funding and support to local CASA volunteer programs and attorneys to represent the best interests of children in abuse and neglect cases.