Teen Court

Doria Rey
Administrative Services Coordinator

816 North Main Street
Clovis, NM 88101
Phone: (575) 763-7725
Fax: (575) 763-7267
Email

 
 
 


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 during which 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 the dismissal will take place.
  • As a volunteer

Volunteering

How Do I Volunteer To Help With Teen Court?
Overview:
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. You must demonstrate an ability to treat each case individually, with objectivity and without prejudice. You must have an ability to communicate with your peers and work in a group setting, and be able to maintain confidentiality of all cases.

Training:
Prospective Teen Court Members must attend an initial all-day training session. Training sessions are held three times a year. Training is conducted by Teen Court staff members who will teach the steps of becoming a Teen Court member. You 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, you will be eligible to apply to become a lead member. Volunteers do not have to be Curry County residents.

Judges:
Local attorneys are welcome to apply to volunteer as Teen Court judges.

Attorneys:
You will attend court sessions as scheduled, follow the guidelines in your manual, maintain confidentiality, treat all participants with respect, represent your client (defense attorneys) or the State of New Mexico (prosecutors) to the best of your ability, attend all trainings, and follow the court rules. You will also dress professionally. Girls are expected to wear a dress, skirt/blouse, or pantsuit. Boys must wear a dress shirt and tie (coat is optional). No jeans are allowed.

Jurors:
You will participate as a member of a teen jury. You will listen objectively to the court hearing about the offense and the circumstances surrounding the offense. You will then assign consequences designed to hold the defendant responsible for his or her actions.

Time Required:
A minimum of one Monday night per month for jurors/bailiffs etc…, a minimum of 2 Monday 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.

Special Requirements:
You must be dependable! If you miss two of your scheduled court sessions without giving us advance notice, you will be removed from the Teen Court program. You must also be flexible! There are always last-minute changes on court nights, and we expect you to be willing to serve where you are needed. You must keep 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.

Prevention

Elementary Prevention: Curry County works in conjunction with Clovis Municipal Schools to provide classes in prevention for elementary school youth. Currently Protecting You, Protecting me is utilized in our elementary 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) and high school students in grades 11 and 12. 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. 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.

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


Forms and Documents

Teen Court Volunteer Application