Juvenile Crimes Attorney - Juvenile Lawyer


Barry J. Nidorf "Sylmar" Juvenile Hall

16350 Filbert Street

Sylmar, CA 91342

(818) 364-2011

Visiting hours for parents at Sylmar Juvenile Hall are on Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Barry Sylmar Juvenile Hall Covid 19 update Hall

Parents, legal guardians and grandparents will no longer be allowed to visit their youths detained at Barry J. Nidorf Sylmar Juvenile hall in an prevent youth from being infected with the corona virus. At least until a vaccine is available, detained youth will no longer be able to see their parents after court or during their weekend visits.

Despite cancelling all visitation, several youths, a public defender and several probation officers have tested positive.

The public defender who tested positive reportedly had regular contact with detained youth and court staff. As a result, of the public defender testing positive, the Sylmar Juvenile Court had to be shut down for three days to undergo extensive cleaning.

As a result of the pandemic, juvenile defense attorneys have been attempt to secure the release of their detained clients by filing WIC 778 motions. Initially the juvenile courts have refused to calendar the motions on the arguments that such motions are not considered urgent matters by the Presiding Judge Kevin Braziles orders that non urgent matters be continued to future dates. Juvenile defense lawyers argue, requesting a minor to be released from juvenile or camp due to the pandemic is an urgent and emergency matter.

To help curb the spread of covid 19, the LA County Probation have implemented new procedures for newly detained youth. This includes requiring all new youth arrivals to quarantine for 14 days and to be tested. If the youth tests positive, the youth would be housed in the medical ward. If the youth tests negative during the 14 day quarantine, the minor would then be assigned housing.

All persons who now enter the juvenile hall, which includes probation employees, civilian employees, police officers who bring in youth arrested are all required to have their temperature checked. Those who have fevers will be denied entry regardless of the reason for the fever.

When the “lockdown” initially was implemented in March, it caught LA County Probation Officials off guard as employees and youth were not given face masks nor were social distancing protocols put in place. Since then, all probation employees and detained youth have been given facemasks. In addition, detained youth no longer physically appear in juvenile court and instead have their cases handled thru a TV monitor thru a court communication system called Webex Solution by Cisco. Due to the confidential nature of juvenile court proceedings, Webex was chosen over Zoom because of its security features. Webex meetings feature DLP (Data Loss Prevention), Retention, Legal Hold and eDiscovery-with an emphasis of security for all Webex conferencing participants. Webex has joined forces with Box, a leading cloud content management platform. Webex has also joined forces with Epic, an electronic health record software to allow medical professionals the capability to do patient visits by video appointments.

Barry J. Nidorf "Sylmar" Juvenile Hall

Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar is also known as Sylmar Juvenile Hall. Prior to being named after the County's Chief Probation Officer Barry J. Nidorf, it was known as the San Fernando Valley Juvenile Hall. It is one of three juvenile halls in the Los Angeles County. It is located at 16350 Filbert street on a 85,000 square foot lot. Built in 1978, it has undergone expansion between 1994 and 1998. The average population is 700 children. Children housed at Sylmar Juvenile Hall are often awaiting placement to another facility such as placement, camp or the California Youth Authority.

Sylmar Juvenile Hall Jobs & Careers

Detention Services Officer positions hold the status of sworn peace officer in the Probation Department. DSO's serve as a member of a small team responsible for the order and security of a unity of a probation youth, transports minors to medical care facilities and/or courts or other locations, and provides situational counseling as necessary. DSO's must be able to physically restrain combative probation youth. Requirements completion of 60 semester or 90 quarter units from an accredited college work in the behavior or social sciences such as psychology, sociology, or criminology. Salary pays $54,920.88 to $64,628.88 a year. Job posting date February 15, 2018 and will remain open are needs of service are met. Positions are subject to close without any prior notice.

Group Supervisor, Nights, Probation

Ensures order and security during normal nighttime sleeping hours in a facility maintained for the custody, care, treatment or rehabilitation of probation youth. Officers must be able to physically restrain probation youth. Requirements include graduation from an accredited high school or a California High School Proficiency Certificate issued by the California State Board of Education. Salary pays $41,041.20 to $50,877.84. For further information about current job listings call (562) 940-2659 or email examinations@probation.lacounty.gov

Visiting Rules at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

Sylmar Juvenile hall only allows parents or legal guardians to visit. Visitation is on Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. On the day your child has court, the Sylmar Juvenile Judge will allow "after court" visits from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Dress Code At Sylmar Juvenile Hall

There is a dress code at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar. Visitors cannot wear sexy revealing clothes. No Transparent (see-through outfits.) Tight fitting clothes for women is not allowed. No short skirts or dresses (higher than mid thigh), no halter tops, low cut tops or clothes with gang words or signs. Also no clothing that exposes the mid section of the stomach.

No White T-shirts as outer wear. No sandals or slippers. Shoes is required at all times. Shoes may not have heels higher than two inches.


Items Not Allowed During Visitation at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

The following items are prohibited at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall, and will result in either no visitation or termination of a visit:

Pens, pencils, markers, paperclips, scissors, rulers, tweezers, pointers, lazer pointers, money wallets, backpacks or fanny packs, purses, cellular phones or pagers, cameras, radios, electronic devices, pocket knives or box cutters, cigarettes or pipes, lighters or matches, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, unauthorized and/or illegal drugs, mouthwash, toothpaste or toothbrushes, glass or metal containers, firearms or any item build for the purpose of propelling an object, ammunition, OC spray, handcuffs, handcuff keys, or any object that can be used as a weapon.

Orthopedic Shoes

If your child requires orthopedic shoes while in custody at Sylmar Juvenile Hall, they can only be accepted if the medical green slip or Court Order is current and presented with the shoes. These type of shoes are to be left at the entrance of the facility for verifications. Parents, guardians, or grandparents are not allowed to take such shoes into Sylmar Juvenile Hall. Once verifiction is made, the shoes will be sent to your child's unit or dorm. If the shoes are unathorized, the shoes shall be placed in your child's personal property.

Verification shall not take place until after visiting is concluded.

A signed and dated receipt shall be issued to the parents at the time the orthopedic shoes are received from the parent acknowleding the County Shall not take responsibility for lost shoes.

Vapor Tracer Units at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

According to a memo issued by the Detention Services Bureau dated November 27, 2007, all persons and items entering Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar are subject to search. The probation department may unitlize vapor tracer units, and narcotic detection canines to search for controlled substances. Those entering through a metal detector shall be subject to a wand search if the metal detector buzzes.

Curtailed or Postponed Visits

Visits may be curtailed or postponed based on safety and security of Sylmar Juvenile Hall. This decision shall be made by a Probation Director only.

Government Issued Picture Identification is Required at Sylmar Juvenile Hall.

In order to enter Sylmar Juvenile Hall, all visitors must bring a current government issued picture identification card. Acceptable forms of identification include: valid drivers license with photo, valid state identification card, Passport with photo, Military identifcation card with photo, photo identification issued by INS, Certificado de Matricula Consular identification cards, (honored for only 60 days from the date of issuance.) The Officer of the Day , Acting Director, or a Director can approve questionable identifcations. Photocopied, non-picture, altered, laminated or expired identifcations will not be accepted.

Persons Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol Will Be Denied Entry

Visitors suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or a drugs shall be denied entrance.

Restriction on Bringing No More than Two Keys

Visitors may only bring two keys on a key ring with no attachments, and their identification into Sylmar Juvenile Hall. Keys must remain in the visitors's pocket or on their lap during visits and may not be placed on the table or in the minor's hands.

Extensive Tattooing On Face Or Neck

Visitors with extensive tattooing that cannot be covered with clothing (on neck or face) shall be escorted to an appropriate location for visiting.

Visitors with Disabilities

Visitors with disabilities who have wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, or other medically necessary equipment shall be escorted to an appropriate location for visiting.

No Child Care At Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall

Please note that there are no provisions for childcare at Barry J. Nidof Juvenile Hall in Sylmar and children may not be left unattended.

No Wandering or Walking About

Visitors are not allowed to walk about during the visit. If you leave the visiting area, your visit may be terminated.


Family Resource Center

Parents, guardians and grandparents are encouraged to visit the Family Resource Center which is located at each Juvenile Hall. The Family Resource Center provides a parenting workshop every Sunday morning from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at each Juvenile Hall. The Family Resource Center offers free informative brochures and booklets on family topics. The goal of the Family Resource Center is to connect mnors who are being released from Juvenile Hall with the resources that will assist them in successfully transitioning back into their communities and lead healthy productive lives.


Special Visits at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

Brothers, sisters and other family members may visit at Sylmar Juvenile Hall if the request is approved and arranged through your childs probation officer or unit supervisor. They may only visit one time.

Baby and Me Program

This program is for young men and women in their teens who are fathers/mothers of babies and children six weeks to six years old. Participants must be working a good program in their unit in order to be part of the class or continue the class. This is an opportunity for minors incarcerated at Barry J. Nidorf to see their young babies and / or children. The young fathers and mothers learn about visitation and custody rights, child development and guidance, effective discipline, dealing with anger, family relationship building and acknowledging and showing appreciation for those who care for their sons and daughters.

Sister Claudia Romero of the Catholic Chaplain's Office, The Office of Restorative Justice, Sylmar Juvenile Hall and Friends of the Family are credited with spear heading this program and getting approval from former Bureau Chief Dennis Carroll to allow this program.


Limitation on number of photographs your child is allowed to possess at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

Often times, parents, family members and others will send photographs to your child. Your child is not allowed more than five photos or pictures. The pictures should not show naked women, sex, drugs, weapons or gangs. They must be mailed and cannot be brought during visits.

Limitation on Religious items your child is allowed to possess at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

No hard cover Bibles. Soft cover Bibles only.

One religious picture.

Telephone use at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

1. Your child is entitled to reasonable access to a telephone.

2. Your child is not entitled to call another Hall, a victim or witness.

3. There is no right to privacy when using the telephone except when call his or her lawyer.

4. The Sylmar Juvenile Hall staff will allow your child to use a County line to call his or her Deputy Probation Officer or lawyer.

Daily Schedule at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

Monday thru Friday

6:15 a.m. Wake up

7:00 a.m. Clean up

8:30 a.m. School

11:50 a.m. Return from School

12:00 p.m. Lunch/Nurse's Clinic

1:00 School

2:40 p.m. Return from School

3:30 p.m. Recreation

5:00 p.m. Dinner

7:00 p.m. Homework

7:30 p.m. Nutional Snack

7:45 p.m Showers

8:30 p.m. Reading time

9:00 p.m. Lights out

Saturday and Sunday Schedule at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

7:00 a.m. Wake up

8:00 a.m. Breakfast, clean up

9:00 a.m. Church/Recreation

12:00 p.m. Lunch/Nurses's Clinic

1:00 pm. Reading time/viciting

2:30 p.m. Recreation/Visiting

5:00 p.m. Dinner

6:00 p.m. Recreation/Day room

7:30 pm. Nutritional Snack

7:45 p.m. Showers

8:30 p.m Reading time

9:00 p.m. Lights out


Special Handlng Unit (SHU) at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

If your child violates any of the Sylmar Juvenile Hall rules, he or she may be sent to the Special Handling Unit (SHU). He or she can be kept in the SHU until he or she is ready to return to his or her unit. Many children get sent to the Sylmar Juvenile Hall SHU for fighting and being defiant to staff.

Problems at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

After receiving numerous complaints by children, lawyers, and community leaders, the United States Attorney Generals Office initated an investigation at all Los Padrinos, Central and Sylmar Juvenile Hall. A special prosecutor and a team of experts assigned to the case visited Sylmar Juvenile Hall inFebruary, March and June of 2001 and found the facility "violated the constitutional and federal statutory rights of the youth residents."

Excessive use of pepper spray at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

The Department of Justice found that Juvenile Hall staff had been using Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spary "excessively," and in situations where "such use of force were not necessary." This includes sparying handcuffed children, children with asthma, pregrant girls, suicidal children and children with special mental health needs.

Understaffing at Sylmar Juvenile Hall / Probation officers fail to show up

Sylmar Juvenile Hall houses children accused of serious crimes. Many children facing fitness hearings and facing the possibility of adult court are housed in the "Y" unit. However, there is inadequate staffing at Sylmar Juvenile Hall which has led to violence at the facility.

As a result, one thousand Los Angeles County Probation Officers failed to show up to work on September 27, 2005 to protest what they contend are dangerous working conditions and inadequate staffing at Los Angeles County Juvenile Halls and Camps. The Los Angeles County Probation Officers Union has sued the county alleging that the county's failure to meet minimum stated mandated staffing ratios has led to higher assaults at these juvenile detention facilities.

Department of Justice Quarterly Report

(Period October 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006.)

As part of the 2003 Department of Justice Investigation of Sylmar Juvenile Hall, the County of Los Angeles agreed to take corrective action as part of a Justice Settlement Agreement.

Of the 52 provisions the County of Los Angeles was requested to correct, only 20 provisions (38%) are in compliance.

As of January 2007, Sylmar Juvenile Hall is still failing in the following areas according to the

most recent DOJ quarterly report.

Subject Area / Percentage of Compliance

Child Abuse Investigation/ 50%

Medical Records Transfer/ 10%

Special Education/ 50 %

Materials, Space, Equipment/ 30%

Audit Process for DOJ/ 31%

Substance Abuse/ 67%

Staffing/ 75%

Use of Force Review/ 65%

Barry J. Nidorf School at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

Children are required to receive their education even while in custody. Children who attend school while in Sylmar Juvenile Hall are evaluated in reading, mathematics, and English Learning thru computer testing. Children are required to attench school for the required 300 minutes per day to comply with state and county education requirments.


On Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 12:50 PM, Los Angeles County Firefighters responded to a fire at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. One youth was in criticial condition and four staff members were injured from exposure to smoke.The extent of the injuries could have potentially been avoided had there been fire sprinklers at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. A fatality could have occured had probation staff not moved quickly.

The severity of the fire problem caused response from six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Arson Unit and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team. Forty one Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded to what could have been a fatality.The fire was confined within one dormitory and the fire was put out in 27 minutes.

According to Brian Humphrey, Spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the cause of fire to the non-sprinklered building appears to be arson.



On Friday April 17, 2009, jurors convicted Diane Buchanan, age 38, of three felony counts for opening a cell door and letting five boys attack a child.

Buchanan was housed at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. Her case number is BA 32722301. She was sentenced in Department 124 at the Downtown Criminal Courts Building on May 27, 2009 and although she faced up to six years in state prison, the judge sentenced to one year in the Los Angeles County Jail and given four years of felony formal probation.

In May 2005 Buchanan had lost her cell phone at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. A child at the Sylmar Juvenile Hall had said the victim had flushed the phone down the toilet. Deputy District Attorney Adomian had told the jury that Buchanan opened the victim's cell door and let in five boys to attack him. Buchanan did not report the incident or seek medical help for the victim. The phone was never flushed down the toilet. Buchanan had misplaced her phone and she later found it in her car.

On December 29, 2010, the second district court of appeal, division seven, denied defendant Buchanan's appeal.



Effective March 27, 2009, Los Angeles County has agreed to pay $7 million dollars to settle a lawsuit by Raymond A. Amande, 20, whose neck was broken on April 21, 2006 when he was threatened and attacked by gang members when he refused to join their gang.

Closed circuit cameras were not working at the time. On the day of the attack, the child was in a recreation room with about 35 other juveniles watching a movie. A group of gang members slammed Amande into the concrete floor causing his broken neck. Amande will be confined to a wheelchair for life.

Probation Department Detention Services Bureau

Lisa Garcia , Bureau Chief

Effective April 1, 2009, Lisa Garcia is the Dentention Services Bureau Chief. She was formerly the Superintendent at Central Juvenile Hall. Her office is located at the probation headquarters in Downey. She supervises all probation detention facilities including all juvenile halls and camps thru out Los Angeles County. An active runner, Ms. Garcia volunteers her time with various nonprofit groups. Among her volunteer activies, she spear heads the annual Latino Peace Officers Menudo Run in Whittier each year. She has encouraged probation employees to set and maintain fitness goals and to compete in various community based running events including the Baker to Vegas run.

Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall Administration (Updated October 4, 2012)

Sean Porter, Superintendent

Mr. Porter is the current Superintendent at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. He takes over the position from Mr. Scott Sanders.

Jeff Probasco, Assistant Superintendent

Mr. Probasco is the Assistant Superintendent at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. He is in charge of the Advocacy Clinic and he is also the Courts/IDC Liason, DNA Live Scan Liason, Health Services Liason, Heraring Imparied Liason, Transportation Liason and Return to Work Liason.

Dr. Karen Streich , Mental Health Director

Ms. Powell is in charge of the Mental Health Program at Sylmar Juvenile Hall.

Blanca Meraz, Health Services Manager

Ms. Meraz supervises all workers dealing with health services.

Pauline Starks, Adminstrative Director

Ms. Starks is in charge of Appraisal of Promotions Liason, Courts/IDC Liason, Housekeeping Inspection Liason, Investigation Liason, and Performance Evaluation Liason. The Division V Director Robert Valles reports directly to him. In turn, the Division V Director supervises the Night Operations Officers of the Day: M. Stewart, and G. Williams.

Deborah Lares, DOJ Compliance Director

Ms. Lares took over this position from Mr. Dave Bryant who took over this position from David Evans.

Ms. Lares deals with Department of Justice inspections and federal consent decree implementation. As part of a federal civil rights violation settlement, the Federal Government does regular inspections of Sylmar Juvenile Hall. Ms. Lares' job is to make sure the federal governement has full access to all part of the Juvenile Hall as well as access to inspect minors charts, interview staff, and minors. She supervises L. Sandoval who work in the DOJ Audit and Katherine Davis.

The Los Angeles County Juvenile Halls are still under scrutiny by the Depatment of Justice as well as the Youth Law Center. The Youth Law Center recently did an inspection in October 2007 where they visited the compound and reported that children are not getting their required educational requirements. The compound is where minors are housed when they are facing fitness hearings to determine whether they should be prosecuted in adult court.

Often times, it was reported by the youth that they do not have schooling on Tuesdays, the day the teachers have meetings. In addition, it was reported that students attend school whereby half the compound may attend school in the mornings and the other half attend school in the afternoons. In addition to helping Sylmar Juvenile Hall meet its consent decree requirements, Ms. Lares is responsible for helping compile reports for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Dalia Fragoso , Director Division ll

Ms. Fragoso is in charge of the Housekeeping Inspection and the Library Card Liason. She supervises the Senior Detention Services Officers J. William from Unit A/B, A. Hill from Unit C/D, W. James from Unit E/F, and W. James from Unit G/H.

Carlos Coronado, Director Division lll

Mr. Coronado is in charge of the LACOE Liason, and the Religious Liason as well as the Senior Detention Services Officers D. King from Boys SHU, B. Joshi from Girls SHU, D. King from Unit J/K and B. Joshi from nit N/O.

David Gutierrez , Director Division lV

Mr. Gutierrez is in charge of Appraisal of Promotability, Pefformance Evaluations, and Mental Health Liason. He also in in charge of supervising A. Lewis from Unit L/M, Vasquez/Alim from Unit M/U, D. King from Unit R/S, and J. Jacob from Unit T/V.

Scott Sanders , Director Division V

Mr. Sanders in in charge of the Inside Out Writers Program. He was a former director at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. Mr. Sanders is also in charge of supervising R. Chacon-Rios from Unit W, C. Waters from Unit X , K. Flanagan from Unit Y, and Unit Z.

James Phelps, Administrative Director Division Vl

Mr. Phelps is in charge of the ELS Log, and serves as the Investigations Liason.

Joe Laschi, Direction Division VII

Mr. Laschi is the Division VII director. He is in charge of supervising the following department heads, Office Manager Portland Holmes, Purchasing J. Clark/V Thurman, S. Ario in STC, Sandra Arcia Gonzalez in STC - PM, A. Rivera/H. Lopez in Payroll and Personnel, P. Hunter in File Room, A. Rivera/V. Thurman in Property, Shaketta Williams in Housekeeping, Marina Levy in Work Orders and Custodiam M. Jones.

Barry J. Nidorf School Administration and Teaching Staff at Sylmar Juvenile Hall:

Monty Westmore, Principal

Lanney Mayer, Assistant Principal

Haywood Stokes, Assistant Principal

Henderson Anderson , Assistant Principal

Betty Ellison, Senior School Clerk

Barbara Huntington, School Adminstrative Secretary

Shirley Hysaw, Senior School Clerk

Roxanne Lee, School Counselor

Alicia Mercado - Kelly, School Clerk

Rosalinda Dejabakhsh, School Clerk

Gerald (Jerry) Perttula, School Senior Program Specialist


Good Grams from School Teachers at Sylmar Juvenile Hall

If your child is demonstrating good citizenship, his or her teacher will give your child a "Good Behavior Gram." Most teachers require that the child (1) Stay on task, (2) stay seated, (3) show respect to staff and other students and (4) enter the room quietly. If your child is getting a lot of Good Grams, these certificates should be mentioned to the Sylmar Juvenile Court.



If your chilld is housed at Sylmar Juvenile Hall, call Juvenile Defense Attorney George Kita for a free consultation at 626-232-0970. Your child needs freedom and future is at stake. Mr. Kita is a former Juvenile Prosecutor. He has successfully handled more than 1000 Juvenile cases. Our winning track record shows that we can provide effective juvenile defense. Call us today.





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NOTE: The juvenile crime, juvenile defense, juvenile criminal defense, juvenile rights, juvenile tried as an adult, criminal defense, serious felony or other legal defense information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. The web site of the Law Offices of George Kita has been designed to provide educational information only and is not intended to offer legal advice. His practice is limited to Southern California Courts. There is no express or implied intent to solicit business from outside of California. Nothing herein is intended to constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and outcomes will vary depending on the unique facts and legal issues of your case.