Office of the Juvenile Defender

Defending Shelby County's Youth


The Office of the Juvenile Defender provides legal defense to all indigent juveniles detained on delinquency matters, which include felony, misdemeanor, paternity, truancy cases, and unruly behavior issues.

If felony cases of 13- to 18-year-olds are transferred to the adult Criminal Justice Complex, the Office of the Juvenile Defender works directly with the Shelby County Public Defender's Office to provide all records and documentation. Felony charges include:
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder I
  • Murder II
  • Rape
  • Robbery
Misdemeanor, unruly, paternity, and truancy cases are defended in Juvenile Court.

Additional Responsibilities


The Office of the Juvenile Defender also works with the families, clergy, support organizations, schools, and mental health facilities to protect the juvenile's interest and litigate for placement in the appropriate program for rehabilitation.

Juvenile defenders also represent indigent adults, both incarcerated and walk-ins, charged with contempt of court for either failure to pay child support or failure to comply with parental visitation orders.