Teen Court is an alternative sentencing program for first time juvenile offenders. The program is designed as an early intervention and prevention program to help young offenders learn from their decisions and get back on the right life course. Referrals are made to Teen Court from the Mercer County Juvenile Probation offices and Mercer County middle and high schools. Defendants who appear before the MCTC have committed misdemeanor crimes such shoplifting, vandalism, curfew violations, underage consumption and tobacco possession. 

Teen Court is a REAL court, with REAL authority, that is run completely by teen volunteers. Trained student volunteers serve as clerk, bailiff, jury, prosecuting attorney and defense attorney. Defendants who agree to appear before MCTC are sentenced by a jury of their peers and have 90 days to compete between 16 - 40 hours of community service, as well as return to be a member of the MCTC jury. Other sentencing options include: counseling, drug testing, apology letter, written essay and additional jury sessions. 

A defendant who successfully completes Teen Court will have no juvenile criminal record. The only cost involved for defendants is a $5 court cost/fine. 

Teen volunteers get valuable first-hand experience with the legal system, public speaking, school credits, community service opportunities and it's FUN! MCTC has several fun activities each year, as well as trips. Several MCTC volunteers have gone on to college to study law, social work, and other related fields. 

For more information contact Michelle Hale at (304) 425-9973 or email michelle.childlawservices@gmail.com. 

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