Amarillo, TX - Amarillo Teen Court is beginning a new program next month which allows high school juniors and seniors to act as attorneys.
Since 1991 Teen Court has been helping juvenile offenders serve their community while learning about the judicial system.
Teens with Class C misdemeanors are allowed to attend teen court where they are tried before a jury of their peers. The jury, who are also teens participating in the program, decide what the defendants sentence should be (several hours of community service and jury duty on a future trial).
In court all parties except the attorneys and judge are participants in the program. Currently the Teen Court attorneys are volunteer attorneys.
In the new program the high school students will serve as the attorneys to either the Defendant or the state. They will question the Defendant and recommend a level of punishment to the jury.
Karla Abernethy-Thetford, the Juvenile Services Coordinator, believes Teen Court is beneficial for any teen because they have a chance to learn about the judicial system while righting their wrongs.
Participants who successfully complete the program will have their offenses kept off of the records.
Teen Court will be in session until the end of January.