Dawson County Juvenile Court
Dawson County Courthouse
25 Justice Way, Suite 1302
Dawsonville, GA 30534
(706) 344-3510 phone
(706) 344-3204 fax
Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Judge Cliff L. Jolliff
Judge Mary R. Carden
Clerk of Superior/Juvenile Court
The Dawson County Juvenile Court is an independent juvenile court organized under Chapter 11 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia. The Court is dedicated to serving the residents of Dawson County by hearing all cases involving allegations of deprivation of children under the age of 18, or unruly conduct, delinquency, or traffic violations concerning children under the age of 17 found within its jurisdiction. If, after adjudication, a child is found to be in need of treatment, rehabilitation or supervision to safely remain in the community, the court will provide access to high quality, appropriate treatment programs whenever feasible.
The mission of the Juvenile Court of Dawson County is to ensure that children whose well-being is threatened shall be assisted and protected and restored, if possible, as secure law-abiding members of society; that each child coming within the jurisdiction of the court shall receive, preferably in the child's own home, the care, guidance, and control that will be conducive to the child's welfare and the best interests of the state; and that when a child is removed from the control of his parents, the court shall secure for the child care as nearly as possible equivalent to that which his parents should have given the child.
The Judges of the Dawson County Juvenile Court are appointed to a four-year term by the Superior Court Judges. A judge must be at least 30 years of age, a citizen of the state for at least three years, and have practiced law for at least five years.
The Judges are required to attend a minimum number of hours (12) of specialized training each year to maintain eligibility for the position. The Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia certifies the training.
Deprivation cases are assigned to the Judge by the Clerk of Court upon the filing of a Juvenile Complaint. Though there are exceptions, once a child is assigned to a judge, all of that child's subsequent deprivation or custody complaints will also be assigned to that judge. Other types of cases are scheduled for court at which time a juvenile judge will be presiding.
Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
The Dawson County Department of Juvenile Justice is the direct contact agent with the youths on probation. Most Probation Officers are assigned to children who attend specific schools so that the officers work in a small geographic area. The officer's job is to help the child succeed on probation, but he/she is also responsible for enforcing the directives issued by the Court. The DJJ Officer performs frontline duties by visiting with the youthful offender at school, home and other locations on any given day or night to ensure compliance with the Court's orders. Any violation of the Court's orders by a juvenile offender is referred to the assigned Probation Officer for recommendation to the Court for consequences. The Juvenile Probation Officer is required to maintain a detailed record of contacts and conduct of his/her assigned juvenile offender.
Family Therapists assist the Court. The therapists have a Masters Degree from an accredited college or university. The therapists advise DJJ Officers and Judges on problem cases as well as provide professional assistance in crisis intervention, individual, family and group therapy for the Court's clients.
Judge Cliff L. Jolliff
Judge Jolliff is from St. Petersburg, Florida and has lived in Gainesville since 1980. He received his law degree from Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University in 1978. He received a B.A. with honors in Philosophy from the University of Florida in 1975. He attended Oxford College of Emory University and obtained an A.A. degree in 1973.
In 1992, the Superior Court judges of the circuit appointed Judge Jolliff to be the first full-time circuit wide juvenile court judge. Previously he served as the part-time judge for Hall County Juvenile Court from December 1990 until his appointment to the circuit wide post in August of 1992. Between 1978 and 1992, he was a practicing attorney in Albany (1978-80) and Gainesville (1980-1992).
He is a former president of the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges and a six-year member of that agency’s executive committee. He served on the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, appointed by Gov. Zell Miller from 1996-2002. He was a member of the Supreme Court Child Placement Project, appointed by the Georgia. Supreme Court from 1998-2001. He was also a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia, 1998-2000.
His civic activities include: Hall County Commission on Children & Families, 2000-present; Northeastern Judicial Circuit Domestic Violence Task Force, 1992-present; Former President and Board Member, Humane Society of Hall County; Former Officer and Director, Gainesville Jaycees; Former Board Member, Gateway House Shelter for Battered Women; Former Board Member, Hall-Dawson CASA Program; Former Board Member, Georgia CASA (1992 – 2000); United Way of Hall County Special Needs Committee, 1999; Rape Response Sexual Assault Prevention Advisory Committee, 1999.
He is married to Elaine Gerke, a licensed clinical social worker in Gainesville.