The goal of the Pinal County Teen Court program is to inspire youth to work towards a crime-free future by empowering positive thinking, instilling self-confidence, and fostering positive social support and family engagement while restoring victims and communities. The Teen Court program is a Diversion program designed to provide juvenile offenders with an alternative to the formal juvenile justice system when possible. Teen Court provides the only venue in the Juvenile Court system wherein a youth’s case is deliberated by a true jury of their peers.
Holding youth accountable in this direct way provides them with a unique opportunity to accept responsibility for their offense and actively make amends to the victim, their family, and the community. At the same time, the student volunteers who participate as judges, jurors, attorneys, victim advocates, clerks, and bailiffs gain an educational experience and a sense of pride in assisting youth, the community, and all that are impacted by juvenile crime.
Teen Court Meetings
There are three types of meetings for Teen Court Members.
During Prep meetings, Teen Court members receive information on the cases to be heard. The members review the information, form questions for both the prosecution and defense, review any victim impact statements to present to the court, and create opening and closing statements.
Hearings are held at the courthouse where the case is heard with the respondent present. The respondent is interviewed by the defense attorney and arguments are made to a jury to decide the consequences the respondent will receive in order to successfully complete Diversion and have the charge(s) dismissed.
Trainings are held throughout the year to review procedures and improve upon the knowledge the Teen Court members have acquired.