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Teen Court

Teen Court

Law and Public Service (LPS) students will have a unique opportunity to be a part of Teen Court. All LPS students will have the chance to serve as Teen Court jurors, bailiffs, and court clerks.  By participating in Teen Court, LPS students will have a direct and immediate effect on the lives of other high school students.  This is a great opportunity for LPS students to gain a real world view of the judicial system in California.  "Teen Court" is a general term describing an alternative early intervention program that involves young people in various judicial roles, participating in the trial of a juvenile offender.  It is a juvenile diversion and prevention program that links students, schools, teachers, parents, juvenile offenders, local police, civic organizations, volunteer attorneys, and the Los Angeles Superior Court in a collaborative effort to reduce recidivism and encourage juvenile offenders to accept responsibility for their actions.

The Teen Court program provides an opportunity for selected juvenile offenders to be questioned, judged, and sentenced by a jury of their peers.  There is no lawyer role-playing.  Make no mistake, this is not a mock trial or mute court. These are real youth who have committed real crimes.  This program offers them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and offers jurors a truly unique experience.  There are very few schools across the nation that offer this program. 

Teen Court is based on the philosophy that both the students who volunteer to participate as jurors, clerks, and bailiffs, and the juvenile offender benefit from participation.  The premise is that a juvenile offender will not continue delinquent behavior after participating in a judicial process in which a jury of their peers determines that he or she violated the law and recommends an appropriate consequence.  Each Teen Court case teaches the juvenile offender and the student volunteers: 

  • The rules of the law that apply to the particular case.
  • The consequences of the offense.
  • How due process is observed by court procedure.

In addition, the participants - both offender and volunteer - learn about justice, power, equality, property rights, and liberty. 

Justice is demonstrated when the jury exercises its power of decision to either hold the alleged offender responsible for their actions or to exonerate them of responsibility by finding them not guilty.  The property rights of members of society are addressed in cases involving vandalism and theft.  Liberty is addressed when the desire of the individual offender is weighted against the rights of others. The court provides equal justice according to established rules and procedures.

Participation in Teen Court is mandatory for all grade levels. 

(In the event that Teen Court is canceled a collaborative project can be substituted.)