The juries in Teen Court are made up of trained high school volunteers, along with defendants who have previously been required to serve jury duty as a part of their sentence. All volunteers are trained by members of the local Bar association and court personnel. In contrast to other courts, Teen Court mandates that all defendants serve as jurors from Two to Twelve evenings at future Teen Court cases. Teen Court juries recommend participation in a community service agency as part of their sentence, with a minimum of fifteen hours and a maximum of one hundred hours. Other sanctions may be recommended such as drug urinalysis, boot camp, counseling, mentorship, essays, letters of apology, and restitution.
Teen Court judges juvenile offenders with a jury of their peers — and gives them a second chance
Teen Court - Communities In Schools of Chatham County
A teen court sometimes called youth court or peer court is a problem-solving court within the juvenile justice system where teens charged with certain types of offenses can be sentenced by a jury of same-aged peers. Depending on their training, community support, and agreements with traditional court systems, most teen or youth courts are recognized as valid, legal venues for the process of hearing cases , sentencing and sentence fulfillment. Teen courts and their verdicts are not authorized by public law. Teen courts are staffed by youth volunteers who serve in various capacities within the program, trained and acting in the roles of jurors , lawyers , bailiffs , and clerks.
Teen Court will not accept cases involving sexual offenses, firearms, hate crimes, motor vehicle violations, and offenses that have resulted in serious injury. Cases are referred to Teen Court by law enforcement, school resource officers, judges and court counselors. Defendants who refuse to participate in Teen Court are directed back to the referring agency and may be subject to prosecution in traditional juvenile or district court. The program is voluntary and confidential.
As the year-old defendant sat in the witness box, he quietly answered one question after another in the courtroom. Who are his friends? Why are his grades low? What kinds of sports does he play?