The El Dorado County Teen Court program in Placerville is now recruiting new student participants for the fall program. Students in grades 8 through 12 are invited to sign up for the Teen Court volunteer training, scheduled for September 11, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in El Dorado County Superior Court, located at 495 Main Street in Placerville.
After completing the mandatory training, teens will 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 his/her peers.
"This is an outstanding experience for our 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 training on September 11 to become volunteers. According to Austin, students are asked to arrive at the Court House no later than 5:45 p.m. "Parking is available throughout the local area, including a parking garage, but can sometimes be challenging, so please plan accordingly," said Austin. Pre-registration for the volunteer training is not required.
Teen Court hearings will begin October 2, 2013 and continue through May 2014. Hearings will be held on scheduled Wednesday nights; a calendar with hearing dates will be handed out to each student during the training.
The highly successful Teen Court program began in 1992 in El Dorado County 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 or the volunteer training, contact Austin at (530) 621-6380.
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