816 North Main Street
Clovis, NM 88101
Phone: (575) 763-7725
Fax: (575) 763-7267
Teen Court is a legally binding alternative system of justice that offers young offenders an opportunity to make restitution for their offenses through community service, educational classes, and jury service. This allows eligible teens to take responsibility for their actions. Teen Court allows both offenders and teen volunteers to better understand our system of justice. Teen Court is held two times per month at 5:15 p.m. Teen Court is usually held at the Curry County Courthouse; however, there are occasions it is held elsewhere, in which case an announcement is made prior to meeting.
There are two avenues for teenagers to become involved with the Teen Court program:
- As a defendant
- Fourteen through seventeen-year-olds and others still enrolled in high school will have their cases heard before a jury of their peers. A verdict will be rendered that includes community service hours, classes, workshops, and at least one jury term.
- In Teen Court, most non-traffic offenses are presented to a jury of teens. Teen defense attorneys and prosecutors ask questions of the defendant, argue the case before the jury, and then the jury returns a verdict. In certain scenarios, a Grand Jury may be used if needed. The Grand Jury functions with direct interaction between the jurors and the defendant.
- Defendants are allowed ninety days to complete their sentences and jury term(s). The completion of the Teen court sentence results in automatic dismissal of the case, so it is not a conviction on the teen’s record. However, all testing and workshop fees must be paid before a dismissal will take place.
- As a volunteer
How Do I Volunteer To Help With Teen Court?
Teen court volunteers, under the guidance of adults, present the case, deliberate, and construct a sentence for teens who have been referred to Teen Court
Qualifications for Volunteers:
Teen volunteers must be at least 14 years of age. They must demonstrate an ability to treat each case individually, with objectivity and without prejudice. They must have an ability to communicate with their peers, work in a group setting, and be able to maintain confidentiality of all cases.
Prospective Teen Court Members must attend an initial all-day training session. Training sessions are held three times a year. Teen Court staff conducts the trainings and teach the steps of becoming a Teen Court member. The volunteer will then serve as an assistant member for 3-5 months before advancing to associate member. After serving as an associate for one 4-month term, the volunteer will then be eligible to apply to become a lead member. Volunteers do not have to be Curry County residents.
Local attorneys are welcome to apply to volunteer as Teen Court judges.
Volunteer attorneys will attend court sessions as scheduled, follow the guidelines in the Teen Court manual, maintain confidentiality, treat all participants with respect, represent your client (defense attorneys) or the State of New Mexico (prosecutors) to the best of their ability, attend all trainings, and follow the court rules. Volunteer attorneys are expected to dress professionally; for girls this means a dress, skirt/blouse, or pantsuit, and for boys a dress shirt and tie (coat is optional). Jeans are NOT allowed.
All Teen Court members are expected to participate as a member of a teen jury. They are expected to listen objectively to the court hearing about the offense and the circumstances surrounding the offense; and then assign consequences designed to hold the defendant responsible for his or her actions.
A minimum of one night per month for jurors/bailiffs etc., a minimum of 2 nights per month for Attorneys.
Length of Commitment:
We schedule by four-month terms. At the end of the term, you will be given the opportunity to commit to another term.
Volunteers must be dependable! If a volunteer misses two of their scheduled court sessions without giving advance notice, they will be removed from the Teen Court program. Volunteers must be flexible! There are always last-minute changes on court nights, and we expect volunteers to be willing to serve where you are needed. Volunteers must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25.
Adults can apply to help with:
- Checking-in of jurors
- Making jury assignments
- Overseeing the courtrooms
- Handling checkout of defendants
Interested persons may contact the Teen Court office at the number above.
Elementary Prevention: Curry County works in conjunction with Clovis Municipal Schools to provide classes in prevention for elementary and middle school youth. Currently “Protecting You, Protecting Me” and “Positive Action” are utilized in our schools. Below is a brief description of the curriculum:
Protecting You/Protecting Me (PY/PM) is a 5-year classroom-based alcohol use prevention and vehicle safety program for elementary school students in grades 1-5 (ages 6-11). The program aims to reduce alcohol-related injuries and death among children and youth due to underage alcohol use and riding in vehicles with drivers who are not alcohol free. PY/PM consists of a series of 40 science and health-based lessons, with 8 lessons per year for grades 1-5. All lessons are correlated with educational achievement objectives. PY/PM lessons and activities focus on teaching children about (1) the brain–how it continues to develop throughout childhood and adolescence, what alcohol does to the developing brain, and why it is important for children to protect their brains; (2) vehicle safety, particularly what children can do to protect themselves if they have to ride with someone who is not alcohol free; and (3) life skills, including decision making, stress management, media awareness, resistance strategies, and communication. Lessons are taught weekly and are 30 minutes long. A variety of ownership activities promote students’ ownership of the information and reinforces the skills taught during the lesson. Parent take-home activities are offered for all 40 lessons. PY/PM’s interactive and affective teaching processes include role-playing, small group and classroom discussions, reading, writing, storytelling, art, and music. The curriculum can be taught by school staff or prevention specialists.
Positive Action is a systematic educational program that promotes an intrinsic interest in learning and encourages cooperation among students. It works by teaching and reinforcing the intuitive philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you do positive actions. The effects of the program range from increased academic achievement to dramatic reductions in problem behaviors. These results have been replicated in diverse settings and feature the most rigorous efficacy study designs available. For more than 30 years, Positive Action has been helping educators around-the-world create positive learning environments for their students.
Teen Prevention: Teen Court partners with many agencies to provide prevention to our community. Classes and workshops include: Life Skills, Boys and Girls Circles, Anger Management, Awareness Classes, Teen Court Volunteer Program, and various other programs