FAQ’s for Teen Court
1. Can I volunteer if I have been in legal trouble before?
Yes you can volunteer. If a youth has completed Diversion or Probation successfully, they can become a volunteer for Teen Court after completing training.
2. What if someone I know comes before Teen Court? Can I still participate as an attorney or jury member for the hearing? And should I be afraid of retribution?
The youth who comes before Teen Court is shown a list of the volunteer participants. If they are familiar with someone on the list and don’t feel they would receive a fair hearing, the volunteer will be dismissed from the hearing. If a jury member or attorney is familiar with the referred youth and doesn’t believe they could be impartial in their presentation or judgment, that jury member or attorney can asked to be dismissed from the hearing. If a volunteer is dismissed for a hearing for these reasons, it does not impact any future participation.
There have not been instances of retribution stemming from Teen Court. If that would occur, the Adams County attorney can file formal criminal charges against those responsible.
3. What if the referred Youth doesn’t believe they are guilty of the offense?
Participation in Teen Court is completely voluntary. If the youth (or their parent) is not willing to admit responsibility for the offense, they should not participate in the Teen Court process. The option is to have the case heard in the formal juvenile justice system.
As the referred youth has already admitted their guilt, the jury only deliberates to determine the sanctions. Before the hearing, the youth and parent are advised of the type and range of sanctions that may be issued.
4. Does Teen Court operate during the summer months?
Yes, Teen Court hearings are held 12 months a year.
5. What is the time commitment expected from the volunteer youth?
Teen Court hearings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. We are aware that youth are involved in numerous activities, and they are not always able to serve. Each week there is a hearing, a Remind message is sent out to all of the trained volunteers. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the hearing as they are available.