How Teen Court Works

  1. Defendants must be between the ages of 10 and 17.
  2. Defendants must have no prior record. Upon being charged with a first time offense they will be referred to Teen Court by the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Assistant State Attorney or the Juvenile Court Judge.
  3. The defendants must admit their guilt and agree to be sentenced by a jury of his or hers peers.
  4. The defendant and a parent or guardian must sign a "Waiver of Speedy Trial".
  5. The parent or guardian must participate in a Teen Court intake.
  6. The defendant must agree not to commit another delinquent act while enrolled in the program. A second charge will result in expulsion from Teen Court.
  7. The defendant must appear for a sentencing hearing with a parent or guardian and sign a contract with Teen Court agreeing to perform the sanctions by a certain due date.
  8. Student Volunteers serve as defense and prosecution attorneys. They are assigned a case at 5:00 pm on the dates Teen Court is scheduled. They prepare their cases from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Police reports, witness statements and information from the Teen Court Intake are provided. Defense Attorneys also meet with the defendants during this hour.
  9. At 6:00 pm promptly a judge will take the bench and preside over the proceedings. Circuit Judges, County Court Judges and Attorneys serve as Teen Court Judges.

All present will be administered the "Oath of Confidentiality" by the student volunteer bailiff and the case is then presented by the student volunteer Attorneys. The jury consists of other teens who volunteer as jurors and other defendants who are serving jury duty.