Teen Court is a nationally recognized early intervention and restorative justice program for juveniles ages 12-18. This gives the offender a second chance while holding them accountable for their actions. Teen Court serves as a community-based diversion program designed to provide an alternative response for the juvenile justice system. The teen accepts responsibility for their offense, appears before a judge and their peers, and is sentenced.
Youth: How can you get involved?
There are two avenues for teenagers to become involved with the Teen Court program. As a defendant and as a volunteer.
As a defendant, 12-18-years old still enrolled in school will have their cases heard before a jury of their peers for sentencing. A verdict will be rendered that includes community service hours, classes, workshops, fees, and jury terms.
In Teen Court, teen defense and prosecution attorneys present their cases to a jury of teens. The attorneys call witnesses, ask questions of the defendant, and argue the case before the jury. The jury then deliberate the facts of the arguments and returns a verdict.
Defendants are allowed ninety days to complete their sentences and jury term(s). The successful completion of the Teen Court sentence, including payment of fees, results in automatic dismissal of the case, so it is not a conviction on the teen’s record.
Youth: How do I become a Teen Court Volunteer?
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 their peers, work in a group setting, and be able to maintain confidentiality of all cases.
Roles for Youth volunteers
- Prosecution Attorney (represent the State of New Mexico)
- Defense Attorney (represent the defendant
Adults: How can I get involved?
Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. You cannot have a criminal background and you must agree to a background check. Knowledge or experience in criminal justice is not required.
Roles for Adult Volunteers
We offer an all-day training session once a quarter, four times a year. Teen Court partners with the local courts to provide a training session to educate youth and adults about the juvenile justice system. We will also provide a mock trial to show how our court proceedings occur.
- Volunteers must be dependable.
- Volunteers must be flexible.
- Youth Volunteers must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25.
The volunteer application must be completed and turned in before you are able to attend, the link is below.
If you are interested in volunteering with Teen Court please call our office at 575.763.7725 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org