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Youth Court This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      I started to get very nervous as the bailiff said, “Hear ye, hear ye, the Town of Clarkstown Youth Court is now in session, the honorable Judge Jakubowitz presiding. All rise.”

As I walked into the courtroom, everyone’s eyes were on me. I had the biggest position in the court as judge.

Youth Court is a “real” court run by teens and overseen by the police department. The teens are assigned to different positions, including judge, clerk, defense attorney, bailiff, and prosecutor. The teens who come to court have committed crimes including stealing, driving under the influence, or being caught with marijuana. The main goal of Youth Court is to give them a second chance.

To become a member of Youth Court, I applied and went for an interview. Once accepted, I went through a three-week training that was long and boring. Then I was ready to put all my training to work. My first assignment was bailiff, which I liked because all I had to do was stand in the back of the room by the door and make sure no one entered while court was in session. After you have worked every possible position, you can be assigned to to be judge.

When I got this assignment, I was nervous, but also really excited. I was going to run the court! The night that I was judge I arrived early at the police department (where court is held) to fill out papers and get everything ready. Other Youth Court members started to arrive and suddenly it was time to start. The clock struck seven and everyone fell silent, waiting for me to enter the court. The bailiff introduced me and everyone stood as I walked in. I sat in the large chair and said, “You may be seated.”

Once everything was in order, I was ready to start, so I told the clerk, “You may call the first case.”

As the defense attorney and defendant walked into the room and approached the bench, I started to shake because I was so nervous. I went through the whole process of acting as judge and at the end said, “You are dismissed.” Once the first case was over, I thought, Wow, that was not bad. The three other cases were easy and fun. Everything went very smoothly and I felt like a pro.

I have been part of Youth Court for four years now, and I love it. I have held every position possible, but my favorite is judge. Youth Court has become an important part of my life. If anyone wants to do community service, I highly recommend Youth Court because it is one of the best programs you will ever experience.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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