Youth Serving Youth
Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement. Youth who admit to the charge appear for a sentencing hearing before a court of his/her peers. Three teen judges listen to both sides of the issue and recommend a sentence based upon what is heard in the courtroom. The goal of the youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior.
Young people (respondents) who chose to go before a court of their peers are referred by either school or law enforcement. Respondents are provided with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes through positive peer pressure and early intervention. Parents and guardians are involved in the entire process. Sentencing for respondents is designed for the individual youth. There is no permanent record of the incident in the youth’s file or record. All proceedings are confidential.
Members learn about group decision making, the judicial process, and public speaking. Youth Court teaches young people how to be leaders and exposes them to career options in public service.
The Genesee County Youth Court will be a tribunal court with youth learning and participating in the following roles
- Judges-a panel of three teen judges presides over the sentencing hearing, taking into consideration all the facts and evidence presented in court in order to recommend a fair and constructive sentence.
- Prosecution-represents the interest of the school and community and makes a sentencing recommendation to the panel of three judges.
- Defense-advocates for the respondent and makes a sentencing recommendation to judges.
- Clerk/Bailiff-maintains accurate records of the court proceedings, administers oath, and ensures smooth operation of the court.
Training for new Youth Court members begins in October and runs weekly through December. Potential members must pass a bar exam and be sworn in to be an Official member of Youth Court. If you would like more information about Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Elliott, Program Coordinator. The below image is the 2016 class during a training session with our Youth Officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.