Monday, August 15, 2011
Bryan Teen Court needs volunteers for school year
The City of Bryan is seeking volunteers for its innovative Teen Court program for this coming scholastic year. Attorneys, parents, and students are needed to participate for this successful program.
Teen Court has been successful at Bryan, Rudder and Collegiate High Schools, as well as, Jane Long and Sam Rayburn middle schools. The City of Bryan’s approach is innovative in its partnership with the Bryan Independent School District schools. Teen Court is held at the respective schools after the school day throughout the school year.
The primary goal of Teen Court is to reduce student recidivism by holding the teen offender accountable for their actions. It also allows for timely resolution of these cases, as the offender’s punishment is assessed by a jury of teen peers, instead of the Municipal Court Judge.
Punishment for teen offenders may vary from performing community service under the supervision of the Municipal Court Community Service program or at a non-profit entity, attending subject tutoring to help improve grades, writing an essay on a particular topic or a letter of apology to the affected parties. Each teen offender is also required to serve as a juror as a requirement of their punishment. The teen offender is given the opportunity to sit and sentence a teen offender.
Another key objective of Bryan’s Teen Court is to reduce teenage Class C misdemeanor offenses by providing educational awareness of what is lawful and acceptable behavior, as well as, good citizenship for both teen offenders and volunteers. Teen Court also provides student volunteers an opportunity to explore and gain meaningful experience of the various judicial system professions, such as court clerks, bailiffs, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Defendants, who are under the age of 18 and enrolled full-time in high school, may request to have their first-time Class C misdemeanor offense, committed in the City of Bryan, heard by Teen Court. Teen Court participants may not have appeared before Teen Court in the past, and the court runs under the same decorum and rules as Bryan’s municipal court. Teenagers who appear before the Teen Court must enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere. Teen Court is used as the hearing and punishment phase to their offense. Teen offenders, if granted Teen Court, must pay all applicable court costs prior to the case being heard in Teen Court.
Those who complete the requirements of the punishment phase will have the offense dismissed by the court and will avoid the large fines of the adult court system. If the punishment phase is not successfully completed, the case will be returned to the municipal court for enforcement of fines and fees.
To sign-up for Teen Court, contact Juvenile Case Manager Eunice Hester (contact information is below).
Additional Contact Information
Juvenile Case Manager
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