The El Dorado County Teen Court program in Placerville is now recruiting new student participants for the fall program. El Dorado County students in eighth through 12th grade are invited to attend the Teen Court volunteer training from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, in El Dorado County Superior Court, 495 Main St. in Placerville.
After completing the mandatory training, teens serve as court personnel for real cases in which a minor has committed an offense, admitted the offense and chosen to be judged for sentencing by their peers.
“This is an outstanding experience for local youth,” said Randy Austin, Teen Court coordinator. “Students serve in roles such as juror, prosecuting and defense attorney, court clerk and bailiff. Rotating Superior Court Judges and senior attorneys preside over Teen Court. Community attorneys donate their time to help students develop their cases. Students get a real understanding of the juvenile justice system, and defendants receive a fair and appropriate sentence through responsible consideration by their peers.”
Youth interested in joining Teen Court must attend the Sept. 10 training to become volunteers. Students are asked to arrive at the Courthouse no later than 5:45 p.m.
“Parking is available in the area, but can sometimes be challenging, so please plan accordingly,” said Austin.
Pre-registration for the training is not required.
Teen Court hearings will be held Oct. 1 through May 2015 on scheduled Wednesday nights. A calendar of hearing dates will be provided at the training.
The highly successful Teen Court program began in El Dorado County in 1992 and is funded through the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, Alcohol and Drug Programs. Teen Court cases are referred and managed by the El Dorado County Probation Department. The County Superior Court Judges, Sheriff’s Office, local Bar Association and local attorneys are important program partners, according to Austin.
For more information about Teen Court in Placerville or the volunteer training contact Austin at (530) 621-6380. For information about Teen Court in South Lake Tahoe contact Jorge Orozco at (530) 573-7964.