The idea for Teen Court originated in Odessa, Texas in 1972 when a judge decided to implement a program to try and reach first-time offenders of misdemeanor offenses. The program proved to be successful and began spreading throughout the United States based on the Texas model.
To be eligible for Teen Court, the juvenile must be between the ages of 14-17. Each teen must admit guilt to the offense for which they have been charged. They must also be willing to complete the consequences assigned by the jury. All participants in the courtroom are teens except for the judge. Teen Court works because teens are judging other teens. With Teen Court, positive peer pressure is the underlying motivational factor.
The most common offenses referred to Teen Court are:
- Criminal Trespass
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Disorderly Conduct
- Minor Consumption of Alcohol
Consequences imposed by Teen Court include: Community Restitution Service, Essays, Counseling, Jury Duty, Life Skills, Classes, Monetary fines, Apology letters, Tours of Detention, Education programs such as “Stoplifting” and Marijuana 101.
In 2012, 62 youth participated in our local Teen Court in Lake Havasu City.
Teen Court is held twice a month in the evenings and is coordinated by Bill Young in Lake Havasu City. For more information, you may contact Tara Newman, Deputy Probation Officer Senior..