Teen Court

Teen Court is part of the Maricopa County Diversion Program. We are a restorative justice program. This means we are not trying to punish the defendant. Instead, we increase their awareness of the consequences and effects of their actions; assign consequences to ensure they won't repeat this offense; and restore what was taken from the victim as well as the community.

The Teen Court experience works because cases are heard before a "jury of their peers". Teens are more likely to ask and have answered the tough questions as to why a crime was committed. All teen volunteers are trained in how to participate in the court hearing so that sufficient information is gathered to assign appropriate consequences. The referral for the violation can come from the school administration, Juvenile Court, or Limited Jurisdiction Court. The Teen Court does not determine "guilt" in these matters because admission of responsibility is one of the criteria for a Teen Court referral. Teen Court hears the matter and determines an appropriate, constructive consequence using established guidelines and a process called restorative justice. Teen Court hearings take place in a courtroom with a judge and attorneys or as a peer jury. There are two communities of students influenced by Teen Court: the juvenile offenders and the students who participate in Teen Court clubs through their school or community-based organization. For the offender, they get a second chance and potentially a clean record. For the teen volunteers, their positive behavior is reinforced through participation in Teen Court.

  • Teen Court hears real juvenile cases (offenses such as shoplifting, theft, simple assault, curfew, trespassing, and possession of alcohol/tobacco).
  • The volunteers listen to testimony and deliberate like an adult jury and decide what consequences a defendant should receive.
  • Consequences include community service, essays, educational classes, letters of apology, research projects, jury service and other creative ideas.

Watch a video about the Teen Court

Teen Court Calendar

Location:

Surprise City Court
16081 N Civic Center Plaza
Suite 105
Surprise, AZ

Time: 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Dates:

07/21/2016

07/28/2016

Why is Teen Court Important?

Most teen defendants who appear in Teen Court are good kids who have made a poor choice. For a defendant to be eligible to participate in Teen Court it must be a lesser offense, they must admit to the crime and volunteer to have their case heard by a peer jury. They must also tell the truth. In exchange for their cooperation and the truth, they are given another chance not to be adjudicated for the crime.

How Can Adults Support Teen Court?

  • Adult Volunteers help with the jury orientation. These volunteers must obtain fingerprint identification and criminal background checks through the Maricopa County Probation Department.
  • Attorneys help our teen attorneys prepare their cases
  • Judges incorporate Teen Court into their court schedules and sometimes join in the proceedings.
  • Probation Officers are responsible for the juveniles assigned to Teen Court. They oversee all court proceedings and follow-up with the defendants to ensure their consequences are completed.
Get Started as a Volunteer

Volunteers are not required to attend a training prior to participation. We give a brief orientation before each court to allow first-time volunteers the opportunity to learn the procedures. We strongly recommend these trainings for anyone wishing to participate in a scripted role. Training is required for anyone wishing to be an attorney.

For more information, or to get started, contact:

Patti Snee
Juvenile Probation Officer
Early Intervention Division
3125 W. Durango St
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(602)361-7306
Patsne@Juvenile.maricopa.gov

OR

Melissa Ohman
Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor
Early Intervention Division
3125 W. Durango St
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(602)506-4279
Melohm@Juvenile.maricopa.gov