Clinton County Department of Probation/ATI
David M. Marcoux, Director
34 Court Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Main Telephone: (518) 565-4640
Fax: (518) 565-4651
Office Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
Intake Hours: 8:30 AM to 12 PM / 1 PM to 4 PM
Email Address:
Family Court Unit
Preliminary Intake Procedure for Family Court cases at the Probation Department
The Family Court Act provides for case review by Probation Department staff to determine eligibility for adjustment services, diversion programming, or coordination of filing a petition with Family Court.  This service is based on the belief that certain juveniles and adults can and should be diverted from the formal Court process.
The Probation Department works cooperatively with community agencies to access community resources, which are designed to meet the needs of the individual.  The objective is to provide information and coordination of services outside the formal adjudicatory process.
The role of intake is to divert cases from Court involvement through mediation, supervision, and services during the adjustment process.  Adjusted cases may involve referrals to local community-based agencies, supervision by Probation intake staff, reparation, and restitution.  The precise form the intake adjustment process takes varies from case to case and county to county.
Cases which cannot be adjusted at Probation are transferred to Family Court.  The complainant is directed to file a petition with Family Court.  An initial appearance is scheduled, at which time the case might be settled by agreement and put on record.  If no agreement is forthcoming, the case is adjourned for further hearing.
Court appointed attorneys can be requested by either party to a Family Court action provided certain financial criteria are met.  However, if a potential petitioner seeking a support, custody, visitation, or family offense petition is represented by an attorney, that attorney must file the petition.
Family Offense
Acts and crimes which constitute a family offense are: Disorderly Conduct including conduct not in a public place, Harassment, Menacing, Reckless Endangerment, Assault in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Degree, and Attempted Assault.
A person has the right to bring the case to Family Court or to a Criminal Court, or both Courts concurrently.  These decisions may have different results.
A Family Offense proceeding may be brought to Family Court or Criminal Court if persons involved:
-are legally married to each other, or formerly married to each other;
-are parent and child;
-are related by blood or marriage;
-have a child in common.
Both the Family and Criminal Courts can issue Orders of Protection and also probation supervision of the assaulting or harassing spouse, with a jail sentence as a possibility for noncompliance.
Juvenile Delinquent
The Probation Department can provide intervention and services for individuals and families, and be a meaningful resource to the community through the prevention of further delinquency.  Probation as an adequate community alternative to placement, reduces the need for Court involvement, lessening the effects of stigmatization, and a cost savings to the community. 
A Juvenile Delinquent is a person between the ages of 7 and 16, who commits an act which would be a crime if committed by an adult.
The Family Court Act specifies that rules of the Court shall authorize and determine the circumstances under which the probation services may confer with any person seeking to have a juvenile delinquency petition filed, the juvenile, and other interested persons concerning the advisability of requesting that a petition be filed (FCA §308.1[1]).  The relevant rules of Court require the Probation Department to conduct preliminary conferences when the juvenile, complainant or victim, or other interested persons, appear for probation services pursuant to FCA §305.2(4) (a), 307.1, or 320.6.  This preliminary conference is known as the "intake conference" or "probation intake."
In the New York State adult Criminal Justice System, police have direct access to the local District Attorney.  In the Juvenile Justice System, by contrast, basically a case may progress from probation intake to the presentment agent and to the Court.  The progression is identical regardless of whether the child is detained, taken directly to Court, or released upon issuance of an appearance ticket.  The main function of a probation intake is to determine whether cases should be referred to the presentment agent for petition or whether they can be adjusted.  Presentment agencies are the local government agencies or authorities responsible for presenting JD petitions for prosecution (FCA §301.2[12]).  This function is parallel to the District Attorney’s Office in Criminal Courts.
Under current law, the Family Court Act limits or prohibits Probation adjustment services in several ways.  First, FCA §308.1(3) prohibits Probation from adjusting an alleged designated felony offense without the approval of the Court.  Second, FCA §308.1(4) prohibits adjustment based on a combination of current specified non-designated felony offenses, and the adjustment of the prior offense, without approval of the Court and the presentment agency.
At the beginning of the intake process, the Probation intake worker must first determine that the Family Court has jurisdiction over the case.  This is done by verifying the child’s identity and age, and that the charge applies to a J.D. case.  Probation may also begin to collect information on prior system contacts and request information from schools and other sources.  This information is used when evaluating the decision to adjust a case.
When the parties are available, the complainant is often interviewed first to establish if he/she has an objection to adjustment.  If an objection is made, the case must be referred because, "the probation service may not prevent any person who wished to request that a petition be filed from having access to the appropriate presentment agency."
The intake period is sixty days in length (the time during which adjustment can occur).  A sixty-day extension can be permitted after application by the Probation Department to the Family Court judge.  Decisions must be made regarding adjustment or transfer to the presentment agent within this intake period.
When adjustment is not feasible, the case is transferred to the presentment agent.  In Clinton County, the presentment agent is the Assistant County Attorney.  The presentment agent may decline to prosecute a case.  This is usually when the attorney (prosecutor) determines that the case is legally insufficient.  If there is sufficient evidence to proceed, the case is brought before the Family Court judge.  At this time a law guardian, an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the legal interest of the juvenile, is assigned. 
The Probation Department does not become involved in the case again unless ordered by the Court to reopen the intake period for further mediation or to conduct a probation investigation for dispositional hearing.  This renewed involvement comes after a fact-finding hearing.  If adjudicated a Juvenile Delinquent, the youth may be sentenced to probation, placed with DSS, or placed with Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).
Person In Need of Supervision (PINS)
Non-criminal complaints about the behavior of a person under 18 years of age are handled by the Probation Department as a conduit to Family Court.  These allegations usually involve patterns of behaviors such as school truancy, running away, late hours, or repeat disobedience to legitimate authority figures such as parents or guardians, school, and foster care agencies.
These matters are commonly referred to as PINS complaints.  The individual who makes the complaint is referred to as the "potential complainant.”  The person against whom the complaint is made is referred to as the "potential respondent."  After a preliminary intake review, appropriate cases are assigned to a probation officer and the Department of Social Services (DSS) caseworker for the youth’s school district.  The probation officer counsels and educates the complainant and respondent regarding PINS diversion procedures and regulations.
The probation officer reviews the referral with an interagency team called the Diversion Committee which makes recommendations for services and programs through the development of a service plan.  A referral can be made to the Designated Assessment Service (DAS) for an additional evaluation.  The referral is reviewed by the Diversion Committee periodically during the diversion period for case management and monitoring.  The probation officer is also an active member of the PINS Diversion Committee which meets with each school district monthly.  This interagency team reviews concerns about at-risk youth, facilitates referrals to appropriate agencies, and coordinates services as needed.
If a PINS matter can be resolved through conferences and services, the complaint will be adjusted without an appearance before a judge.  If conferences and services have not helped improve the situation, the petitioner may be notified that a formal Court action can be filed.  The notice that probation sends to the petitioner in such cases must be presented at Court with the petition.  Under the law, even when a petition is filed, the Court may return the complaint to intake for further referral services.
If a PINS petition is filed with Family Court, a hearing is scheduled and the respondent is assigned an attorney called a law guardian.  If there is a finding that the juvenile is adjudicated a PINS, the Court may place the child on probation under the supervision of the Probation Department.  In situations where more structure is needed, the juvenile may be placed in DSS custody for placement in foster care or a residential program.


Paternity petitions may be initiated through the intake service of the Probation Department or through the Support Collection Unit.  The majority of paternity petitions in Clinton County are filed through the Support Collection Unit.  If filed at the Probation Department, required information is the name and address of the parents and the timeframe in which conception may have occurred.  If the child has been born, a copy of the birth certificate is needed.  If the child has not been born, the expected date of birth is needed.
Custody and Visitation
The Probation Department also provides intake services in matters concerning custody and visitation.
Once a custody/visitation intake has been opened, the case may be transferred immediately to Family Court, referred to North Country Center for Conflict Resolution for mediation services, or assigned to a probation officer/probation assistant, who attempts to resolve the problem without Court action.  Occasionally, adjustment takes the form of custody/visitation agreements which are formalized into written form and submitted to Family Court to be made into an Order of the Court.
If a custody/visitation petition is filed, the Court schedules an initial appearance hearing.  At the time of this hearing, the Court may direct the Probation Department to complete a probation investigation/home study.  A fee is charged for an investigation, based on a sliding scale.
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