If you have any other questions, please contact Teen Court Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Teen Court defendants must bring a parent/legal guardian and the required court fee to their predetermined sentencing hearing (Peer Panel, Trial, or Mediation). Please understand that the process may take up to 3 hours. The defendant and the parent/guardian will receive a packet of information in the mail several days before the scheduled hearing date that explains the process of the hearing and what to expect for that day.
Once the defendant completes his/her Teen Court sentence, he/she will receive an evaluation packet that contains two questionnaires (one for the defendant, one for the parent/guardian) and a defendant survey. After completing and returning this packet to Teen Court, the defendant will receive an additional packet of information that contains a Certificate of Completion for the Teen Court program and information about getting his/her juvenile record sealed and expunged.
Once a defendant finishes his/her Teen Court sentence, a compliance report is submitted to the City Attorney's Office. The City Attorney's Office requires an appropriate amount of time to process all necessary dismissal paperwork. If a defendant fails to complete his/her Teen Court sentence by the three month due date, he/she will be in non-compliance of the deferred sentence. The defendant may have to appear in court on their review date with a parent/guardian.
In certain cases however, a defendant will have less than three months to complete his/her sentence. All questions regarding sentence completion will be answered after the sentencing hearing at outprocessing by a member of the Teen Court staff.
The City Attorney's Office will send a letter by mail stating whether or not a defendant is required to appear in court on his/her review date. If the defendant completes all requirements of his/her deferred sentence (up to and including incurring no additional criminal charges) he/she may be released from having to appear in court.
IF THE DEFENDANT HAS NOT RECEIVED A LETTER RELEASING OR REQUIRING HIM/HER TO APPEAR IN COURT ONE WEEK BEFORE THE DEFENDANT'S REVIEW DATE, CONTACT TEEN COURT IMMEDIATELY.
Teen Court requires that all community service must be completed at a NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION. Community service may also be completed at the defendant’s school, church, or community center.
Please understand that any organization has the right to deny hours of community service. Teen Court will provide a list of possible locations that frequently allow Teen Court defendants to perform community service.
IT IS THE DEFENDANT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SCHEDULE AND COMPLETE HIS/HER HOURS AND SUBMIT A SIGNED COPY OF HIS/HER TIME SHEET AS PROOF OF COMPLETION. FAILURE TO COMPLETE REQUIRED HOURS WILL RESULT IN NON-COMPLIANCE.
One of the conditions of the deferred sentence with Teen Court is that the defendant must have no criminal violations for one year after the review date. If a defendant receives a new criminal charge, he/she is still required to complete his/her sentence and the defendant MUST APPEAR ON HIS/HER REVIEW DATE WITH A PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN to speak with a City Attorney regarding his/her case.
For a period of six months, a guilty plea is on the defendant's record. Once the defendant completes all conditions of his/her six month deferred sentence, the charge is dismissed and the guilty plea is then withdrawn. However, the dismissed charge IS STILL VISIBLE UNTIL THE DEFENDANT EXPUNGES HIS/HER JUVENILE RECORDS. The defendant will have the opportunity to petition the court for Expungement of Records ONE YEAR from the day Municipal Court dismisses the charge.
A copy of any apology letter required as part of the defendant’s sentence must be provided as proof of completion. If the apology letter is to a store/business, it will be forwarded to the appropriate address after a copy has been submitted. If the apology letter is to a victim, it will also be forwarded to the appropriate person(s) after a copy is submitted (depending on the case). After the defendant has presented the apology letter to his/her parents, a copy must still be submitted as proof of completion.
If an apology letter is deemed unacceptable by the Teen Court staff due to lack of effort and/or plagiarism, the defendant will be contacted and required to rewrite a new apology letter with additionally imposed requirements.
The defendant’s essay must be the complete length ordered at the defendant's hearing. It must be the full page length per page. It does not need to be typed, but if it is, it must be 12-point font with 1-inch margins. If it is hand written, it must be normal size writing, full lines, and complete pages. If the defendant has a question regarding format, they can contact staff.
The essay must be in the defendant’s original words, and not copied from any person or online source. Each essay is checked for plagiarism via an online program. If it is determined that an essay or a portion of an essay has been plagiarized, the defendant will be contacted and further sentencing will be imposed.
If a defendant fails to complete his/her Teen Court sentence by the three month due date, he/she will be in non-compliance of the deferred sentence and will receive paperwork regarding sentence completion in the mail. The defendant will then have to appear in court on his/her review date with a parent/legal guardian. In certain cases however, a defendant may have less than three months to complete his/her sentence. All questions regarding sentence completion will be answered after the sentencing hearing at outprocessing by a member of the Teen Court staff.
If the defendant fails to complete all requirements of his/her Teen Court sentence up to and including paying all court class fees, the defendant will receive a letter from the City Attorney’s Office stating that he/she IS REQUIRED TO APPEAR IN COURT WITH HIS/HER PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN ON HIS/HER DATE OF REVIEW to speak to the judge about his/her case.
The process where a defendant comes through the Teen Court program and receives sentence requirements that they must complete as part of their deferred sentence agreement with Municipal Court. Teen Court defendants are sentenced by a Peer Panel, a Trial by peer jury, or in a Restorative Mediation (based on the age of the defendant and the circumstances of the offense).
A deferred sentence refers to a postponed, or delayed sentence in a criminal matter. For Teen Court defendants, a guilty plea must be entered at the defendant's arraignment. The guilty plea will be on the defendant's record for six months. If the defendant successfully completes all sentence requirements, at the conclusion of the six month period, the court will review the defendant’s case and dismiss the charge against him/her. If, however, the defendant does not complete all sentence requirements the court will enter a permanent conviction on the defendant's record.
Community service refers to a portion of sentencing involving an activity that benefits the community to compensate for harm done. The object of community service is to provide unpaid work which is of value to the community as an alternative to custody. Teen Court defendants are required to complete their community service hours at a NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION. Teen Court defendants may also complete their hours at schools, churches, or community centers (online community service will not be accepted). Unlike Municipal Court defendants, Teen Court defendants are not required to pay a registration fee to perform community service.
A review date marks the end of a defendant's six month deferred sentence with Municipal Court. Defendants who successfully complete their sentence by their due date will receive a dismissal letter from the City Attorneys Office waiving their required appearance on their review date. Defendants who fail to complete their Teen Court sentence will be required to appear in court on their review date with a parent/legal guardian to speak to a judge about their non-compliance.
A sentencing hearing comprised of three to six teen volunteers and an adult case manager. Defendants and parents going through this process are questioned separately by the teen panel members before a sentence is given.
A deferred sentence program based on the concepts of Restorative Justice. This program is an alternative to regular court sentencing for eligible first-time misdemeanor juvenile offenders between the ages of 10 and 18. Defendants who plead guilty to their charge and agree to participate in the program will be sentenced by a panel or jury of their peers. Although Teen Court works in tandem with the Municipal Court system, it remains a locally-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on community support to sustain its programs.
A sentencing hearing where defendants, parents, and victims (teachers, school resource officers, members of the community etc.) agree to mediate in good faith to come up with a plan to repair the harm that was done. All participants in the mediation will sign a mediation contract and determine an appropriate sentence with the help of a trained restorative mediator who acts as a neutral party.
After successfully completing a deferred sentence program like Teen Court, defendants may petition the court to have their juvenile records sealed. A defendant is eligible to apply for expungement ONE YEAR from the his/her review date with Municipal Court as long as he/she does not receive any new criminal charges.
Teen Court defendants are given THREE MONTHS from the day of their hearing to complete all sentence requirements. Successful completion of all sentence requirements by the defendant's due date will result in the issuance of a compliance. Consequently, failure to complete all sentence requirements by the defendant's due date will result in the issuance of a non-compliance and may result in the defendant and his/her parent/legal guardian having to appear in court on the defendant's review date.
A sentencing hearing conducted in a formal courtroom setting before a real judge. Teams of student attorneys present both the defense and prosecution arguments with the help of their mentor attorneys (volunteer lawyers). The jury, made up of former defendants who have already been sentenced, deliberates on an appropriate sentence for the defendant(s) on trial.