Teen Court

By , Mebane, NC
I stand- ready to talk to the jury and present my opening statement. They listen. And the night begins.
I’m a volunteer in Teen Court. Teen Court is a program for REAL first time juvenile offenders. In Teen Court almost everybody’s a kid. The Bailiff is a kid (they take care of stuff like opening and closing court), the Clerk of Court is a kid (they take care of confidentiality oaths and the like), the attorneys are kids (they represent the state and the defendants), and the jury are all kids (they decide the punishment for the kids). The only adult is the judge.
In Teen Court the defendants already have admitted their guilt. The jury of their peers decides their punishment. Punishment is community service, educational seminars, apology letters, and stuff like that. The jury (part of which are there as part of their punishment) decide what punishments, how many hours, and the like. I’ve seen kids come in for everything from affray to breaking and entering. Most of the kids walk out with just the scare they need and having learned their lesson.
Being in Teen Court has taught me so much. I’m usually a defense attorney but I have been a prosecuting attorney also so I’ve learned to see both sides. I’ve learned to appreciate how great a family I have because so many of these kids don’t have that. I’ve also learned a lot about how court works.
I present closing arguments. The bailiff closes court. The night is over.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

MinnieMouse15 said...
Dec. 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm
i love this article there shud be a forum called teen court...
 
Alisha.Mariiex0x0 said...
Dec. 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm
This was really cool to read(: How could I get in touch with someone there or find a Teen Court I could join ?
 
KrystalT replied...
Dec. 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm
ya.  were are they at? i want to join 1.
 
SkyDeer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm
Some counties have one or just areas in general- might try calling dispute settlement or juvienle servies to find out.
 
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