Teen Court is a voluntary program for high school youth ages 14-18 conducted in partnership with the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney office.
Teen Court is open to motivated, first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders. The goal is to reduce recidivism through community service (tracking log), positive peer pressure, and structured activities referred to as Community Action Points (CAP). If your charge is related to any illegal substance, you may be required to complete a Chemical Dependancy Evaluation.
· The youth must admit his/her offense and is sentenced by a jury of his/her peers.
· Teen volunteers participate as lawyers, jurors and bailiffs.
· A real judge or licensed attorney acting as judge serve as the jury monitors.
Teen offenders benefit by having the opportunity to avoid a juvenile record by completing the sentence handed down by their peers.
Court is held as needed with jury members, attorneys, judges, bailiffs, jury monitors, and the youth with his/her family present to formulate a diversion plan based on the juries unanimous recommendations. The diversion agreement can include counseling, CD assessments, CAP points, safe driving courses, community service, restitution and/or utilization of other relevant community resources. The diversion agreement will have 100 days to be completed and have concrete goals and objectives.
Teen volunteers who are interested in exploring a law career benefit from hands-on experience, public speaking, public service and responsibility by serving as lawyers, jurors and bailiffs. You can find more information here.
Adult volunteers who are interested in being judges can find more information here.