SHELBY COUNTY TEEN COURT
The Teen Court Concept:
Teen courts are generally used for juveniles those with no prior arrest records, and those charged with less-serious law violations (e.g., shoplifting, vandalism, or disorderly conduct). Typically, young offenders are offered teen court as a voluntary alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system. In teen courts, youths charged with an offense can forgo the formal hearing and sentencing procedures of juvenile courts and participate in a sentencing forum made up of a jury of their peers. These courts offer youth the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons and coping skills while promoting positive peer influence for the youth defendants and volunteers, who play a variety of roles in teen court. The Teen Court Program allows both participants and defendants to learn more about the juvenile justice system.
Ø Adult Judge Model. An adult serves as judge and rules on legal terminology and courtroom procedure. Youth serve as attorneys, jurors, clerks, bailiffs, etc.
· Juveniles who have been referred to the probation department before can be referred to Teen Court. Juvenile CAN NOT have any formal adjudication on their record. Offenses committed still need to be less-serious offenses. Questions about possible cases can be sent to CPO or Superior Ct 1 Judge.
Juveniles who are sent through Teen Court will be placed on an informal adjustment and will be required to follow through with disposition given by Teen Court Members. Juveniles will also be required to attend two (2) teen court sessions after their case has been tried.
Requirements for ALL Teen Court Volunteers
· Must be in grades 7-12, and in good standing in your community.
· Must be able to commit to the nights you agree to serve. If you have a conflict that interferes with your ability to serve, you must notify the Teen Court Director with at least one-week notice. If you miss three (3) sessions, you may be dismissed from Teen Court.
· Must be able to maintain the Oath of Confidentiality.
· Must agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and behave with decorum during Teen Court procedures.
Juror Job Description
Jurors report for duty on their assigned nights to follow the Teen Court procedures and thoughtfully hear the cases on the docket. They will be given the opportunity to ask the respondent questions, as directed by the judge. Following the testimony, jurors and panelists deliberate and determine sanctions for the respondent. A juror will be selected as Foreperson. Jurors will share their opinions and participate in the discussions. When sanctions are delivered, jurors support the decisions made by the group and maintain the Oath of Confidentiality.
Clerk of Court/Bailiff Job Description
The Clerk of Court/Bailiff collects attendance during deliberation and transfers the Jury Verdict Form to and from the Judge.
Attorneys (Prosecutors and Defense Counsel)
Attorneys must have regularly participated in Teen Court for a minimum of two (2) sessions and have demonstrated the ability to follow the Code of Conduct. The Teen Court Director, based on the above criteria and the age of the respondent, will select attorneys. The attorneys ask the respondent and parents questions which help the jury to understand the nature of the offense, the character of the respondent, and the harm which has been caused by the offense.
The Foreperson is assigned during the jury deliberation. He/She guides the jury through the Jury Verdict Form and makes sure that ALL jurors speak. In the courtroom, the Foreperson reads the sanctions, as directed by the Judge.