Once a volunteer has worked with the program and become familiar with its operation and the youth volunteers, they may serve as a Courtroom Monitor or handle sign in. During sign in, an adult is located at the entrance of the Courthouse to sign in volunteers, defendants and their families, and to direct them to the appropriate location. These adults also work closely with the coordinator to make last minute changes to the schedule to cover volunteers who are unable to attend. They are also responsible for making certain that the volunteers are in their appropriate location for the hearing and that the needed facilities are unlocked.
VOLUNTEER CHECK-IN AND COURTROOM MONITOR
The Jury Monitor’s role is to help guide the jury in the decision making process. However, the personal opinion of the monitor is never interjected. The Monitor should remind the peer jury that the sentence should relate to the seriousness of the offense. This is what the defendant has to do to repay his or her debt to society and ultimately change their behavior in a positive direction. It should also be made clear that the sentence is not just punishment but also educational. The Monitor will make sure that the decision is unanimous and that all members sign the jury verdict form before returning to the courtroom.
After a defendant’s case is heard and the peer jury has made their recommendation, the defendant and his or her family is escorted to a private room with the Exit Interviewer. The Exit Interviewer’s role is to complete the defendant’s Service Plan. The Service Plan is a step-by-step guide that lists each condition that must be met in order to successfully complete the Teen Court Program.
For ages 14-18: After completion of training, student volunteers can serve as Prosecuting Attorneys, Defense Attorneys, Jurors, Bailiffs, and Clerk of Court.
A Teen Court Jury of Peers
The Judge’s main functions are to preside over the Teen Court sessions and assist in the training and on-going instruction of the Teen Attorneys. The Judge’s duties include instructing the Defendants and Jury Members on trial procedures prior to court session, swearing in Observers, Counsel, Defendants and Juries. The Judge also debriefs the Teen Attorneys regarding their performance during trial. To qualify as a Teen Court Judge, he or she must be a practicing attorney or judge. Experience working with young people is preferred and applicant must be able to instruct on proper courtroom procedures. It is most important and critical to the learning experience of Teen Court, that the Judge must be able to deliver constructive criticism.