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How To Create and Conduct a Teen Court Program

NCJ Number
Judges' Journal Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: (Summer 1995) Pages: 16-20,42- 45
F B Rodgers
Date Published
9 pages
The Teen Court in Westminster High School and 12 Colorado cities and towns have been operating to provide youths accused of school disciplinary violations and minor offenses an alternative form of dispute resolution.
Teen Court involves student defense attorneys, prosecutors, and jury members. Teen Court is conducted only with the consent of the accused person. One underlying premise in the Teen court model is the understanding by all parties that the suspect's admission of guilt must be acknowledged by the defendant and his or her parent or guardian. Referrals usually originate in the participating schools and must be for violations that took place in or associated with school activities. Law enforcement agencies provide a secondary source of referral. Attorneys who volunteer for Teen Court mentoring duties enjoy this pro bono work. A forms kit provides an outline for the trial and a suggested transcript. The Teen court usually consists of a small program that meets infrequently or a large grant- funded program. Judges enjoy the experience because they are helping youth become involved in the judicial process in actual cases, promoting the creation of partnerships among different agencies, and bringing problems to positive closure. Source of forms and suggested transcript of proceedings