Teen Court Process
Teen Court is a diversion program comprised of trained teen volunteers that hear cases for first-time juvenile offenders. Teen Court does not decide guilt or innocence. In order to be in the program, defendants must admit guilt, be accountable for their actions, and agree to have their case decided by other teens. Sanctions are legal and binding and must be upheld by all defendants. Cases in Teen Court are seen in two ways:
Younger defendants and those who have committed lesser offenses are reviewed by a peer panel comprised of trained teen volunteers and former defendants. Panel members conduct separate interviews of defendants and at least one parent or guardian in order to determine appropriate sentencing options. The defendant and the parent(s) are given the opportunity to discuss any family problems, financial concerns, behavioral issues or other mitigating circumstances that might affect the panel’s decision on a sentence.
Cases involving older defendants or those who have committed more serious crimes are processed in formal court proceedings presided over a trained teen judge. Experienced and trained teen volunteers serve as bailiffs, and prosecuting and defense attorneys (under the supervision of adult mentor attorneys). Defendants must take the stand in their own defense in front of the court. Sentences are then deliberated by a jury comprised of former defendants and trained teen volunteers.
If you have received intake paperwork, please contact Sarah Vandiver at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.805.3171 to schedule your intake.