What is Youth Court?
- Youth Court is youth led and youth driven. The judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jurors, bailiff, court clerk and defendants are all teenagers. They will hear cases of first time offenders with misdemeanor charges. The jurors will decide the sanctions that will be imposed. They can range from community service, written or oral apology to victim or others, essay related to the offense, improve grades and they will serve as a juror in two cases
Why Is It Needed?
- Adolescence is a time when young people are developing skills, habits, and attitudes that will prepare them for transition into responsible adulthood. Teen court programs serve a dual function. In addition to providing a mechanism for holding youthful offenders accountable and educating youth on the legal system, teen courts also provide youth in the community with an avenue for developing enhancing, and practicing life skills.
Youth Court will:
- Help youth realize they will be held accountable for their problem behaviors
- Educate youth on the impact their actions have on themselves and others
- Build competencies in youth by providing instruction in how the legal system functions and how to communicate and resolve problems with peers and more effectively build competencies in youth by providing instruction in how the legal system functions and how to communicate and resolve problems with peers more effectively and provide a meaningful forum for youth to practice and enhance newly developed competencies
- In order for a defendant to participate in youth court, they will have to agree to enter into a diversion agreement in which they admit to the facts of the case and agree to follow the sanctions in the case. The case will be sent back to Municipal Court. If they complete their sanctions, they will not have a juvenile record.