is Teen Court?
Teen Court is
an alternative program to the court system, allowing first-time
juvenile offenders between the ages of 12 and 17 to be tried by
their peers for misdemeanor offenses. Student volunteers take
the roles of attorneys, clerks and jurors. Local attorneys volunteer
their time and serve as Teen Court judges.
Teen Court does not determine guilt or innocence; admission of
guilt is a requirement for being offered this voluntary diversion
from Juvenile Court. The Teen Court s mission is to deliver a
constructive sentence to the offender based on his/her offense.
Teen Court is a “hands-on” opportunity for offenders
and volunteers to learn about the legal system, as well as a vehicle
for positive peer pressure. Typical charges presented at Teen
Court hearings are larceny (stealing or shoplifting), affray,
simple assault, property damage, and possession of drugs or alcohol.
is held at the Rowan County Courthouse two Tuesday evenings
each month from 5:30pm until 8:00pm. The defense and prosecuting
attorneys prepare for their cases the week prior to the session.
The defendant is asked questions by both the prosecuting and
defense attorney and closing statements are made with recommendations
to the jury. The defendant is allowed to tell his/her account
of what happened, and the defendant's parent or guardian is
given the opportunity to speak on their child's behalf.
Once the jury has heard the facts of the case, they enter the
jury room to decide on an appropriate, constructive sentence
for the defendant. When they have reached a decision, the judge
will issue that sentence to the defendant, and the defendant
and his/her family will leave the courtroom to participate in
the final stage of the court process, the exit interview. Defendants
have 90 days from the date of their hearing to complete their
The cases heard
in Teen Court MUST be held in the strictest confidence.
Everyone in the courtroom is required to taken an oath of confidentiality
regarding the persons and charges involved. If anyone fails
to abide by this oath, they will be terminated from the program.
of Teen Court
Community benefits by....
young people to change their lives for the better.
the Juvenile Court caseload, enabling court officials to focus
on more serious offenders.
volunteers benefit by......
hands-on experience of our legal system.
basic leadership qualities and self-worth.
able to help other teens.
are recruited from local schools, civic organizations and the
business community. Youth volunteers serve as Teen Court attorneys,
clerks, and jurors. Adult volunteers may serve as jury room
monitors and judges. Volunteers are required to submit an application
and attend training, which is provided by the Teen Court Program
Director and/or other professionals.
Would you like
to volunteer for the Teen Court program? Fill out the form below.