The juvenile court or teen court is a court that's operates like any other court. The only difference is that defendants, attorneys, jury, bailiff and court clerk are all teenagers. The only adults involved are the judge, the adult attorney mentors who are present for support during the trial. The defendants in a teen court are between 13 and 17. They usually are arrested for shoplifting using tobacco, alcohol or drugs and for some other assault.
The objective of the teen court is to help young people from failing in life. After the trial, if the sentence is carried out during two months the crime is removed from the defendants' record. If not the case is sent to the districts' attorney and the Probation Department for prosecution. During the 1st year, about 45 cases have been recorded. After, the caseload has more than doubled, now, 100 cases are heard a year.
The sentencing options for the defendant's include counseling, community service, writing an apology letter, paying restitution to the victim, writing an essay, driver's license suspension, watching drug or alcohol video and writing a report or completing a chapter from the book " Teens, Crimes and Community". The jury can impose other sentences. The jury will ask the defendant if he or she accepts the sentence.
Teen court has had a high success rates, 85 to 95 percent of the criminals do not re-offend, as opposes 70 percent in regular.
A lot of volunteers are involved in teen court, volunteering increase with the cases. More cases being heard more students volunteering. There's many reasons for volunteering, some want to pursue a career in law, some do it because their friends do it, etc... One thing is certain: all of them do it for fun and to make new friends.