Q. How old do I have to be to participate?
A. To participate in Teen Court a youth must have reached his/her thirteenth birthday or must have not reached his/her eighteenth birthday by the first training session.
Q. Do the youth hear real juvenile court cases?
A. Yes, the youth do hear real juvenile court cases that are handed down by the District Judge.
Q. How do I get involved?
A. Recruitment for the program begins in the fall between the months of August – October. Local coordinators will visit high schools in their area to speak with students about the program or advertise in the local newspaper. At this time any interested person can sign up to participate in Teen Court.
Q. How is confidentiality handled?
A. At each training session the legal professionals stress the issue of confidentiality. During the swearing in ceremony the participants are sworn to adhere by strict confidentiality guidelines. Those who violate the oath will be prosecuted.
Q. How do cases get to Teen Court?
A. Initially, all juvenile cases go through the Court Designed Worker or CDW. The CDW has a list of criteria that the juvenile must meet to determine if the case is to handle by diversion or be sent to court. If a case is to be sent to court, it must be approved by the County Attorney. Once a case is in court the juvenile must plead guilty or be found guilty to qualify for Teen Court.
Q. What is the role of the Teen Court Coordinator?
A. The roles of the Teen Court Coordinator are as follows:
- Recruit high school participants
- Conduct training sessions for participants
- Meet with defendants and parents
- Set court dates with participants in cooperation with district judge
- Work with district judge; local attorneys; other court official; community service sites
- Locate non-profit agencies that are capable and willing to use juvenile offenders with service learning (community service) projects.
- Assign roles to student participants
- Attend and handle logistics for all court sessions
- Systematically monitor defendant's compliance with sentence
- Complete all necessary information and forward to AOC
- Supply the program coordinator with accurate Teen Court statistics
- Relay pertinent information to evaluators
Q. How often does court meet?
A. During training Teen Court meets once a week for six consecutive weeks. After inductions court will meet once or twice a month. Courts meet after school or during the evening for approximately two hours.
Q. What is the role of the presiding Judge?
A. The role of the presiding judge is to assist with four participant training sessions; attending swearing in ceremony for student participants to issue the Teen Court Charge and Confidentiality Oath; refer appropriate cases to Teen Court; and to preside over Teen Court.