El Dorado County students in grades eighth through 12 are invited to take an active role in the juvenile justice system through the Teen Court program. Volunteer training will be conducted on Sept. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. in El Dorado County Superior Court, 495 Main St. in Placerville.
Upon completion of this mandatory training, teens will serve as the court personnel for real cases in which an offense has been committed by a minor, the minor has admitted to the offense and has chosen to be judged by his/her peers.
“This is a unique opportunity for students in our community,” said Jeanette Phillips, Teen Court coordinator. “Students manage almost every aspect of Teen Court. Except for the judge, all other participants are students: the prosecuting and defense attorneys, court clerk, bailiff and jury. Rotating Superior Court judges preside over Teen Court and volunteer attorneys from the community aid student attorneys in developing their cases. Students come away with a real understanding of the juvenile justice system, and their interest and enthusiasm ensures that all defendants who appear receive a fair and appropriate sentence.”
Youth interested in serving on Teen Court must attend the volunteer training on Sept. 14.
“Students should plan to arrive no later than 5:45 p.m. that day and we will get them started. There is no need to pre-register for the volunteer training,” said Phillips. “We hope to train approximately 100 student volunteers. Students must be El Dorado County residents and be enrolled in grades eighth through 12; private school students and homeschooled students are also welcome.”
Teen Court hearings will begin on Oct. 5 and continue through May 2012. Hearings will generally be held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at Superior Court on Main Street in Placerville at 6 p.m.
The highly successful Teen Court program began in 1992 in El Dorado County and is funded through the El Dorado County Health Services Department, Alcohol and Drug Programs. Cases are referred and managed by the El Dorado County Probation Department. The county Superior Court Judges and Sheriff’s Department also are very important program partners.
For more information about Teen Court contact Phillips at (530) 621-6130. For information about other services of the Alcohol and Drug Programs visit edcgov.us/publicheath.