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FAQs

 

1) WHAT IS TEEN COURT?

The Teen Court Program of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit provides meaningful and constructive alternatives to the formal prosecution of young offenders who have accepted responsibility for their offense(s). This diversion program provides specific and immediate sanctions and services to youth.  Teen Court is the ­only juvenile proceeding where criminal cases are considered by teens.  The offender’s sanctions are decided by a Teen Court jury.

2) WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE STUDENT VOLUNTEER?

Middle and high school student volunteers will litigate actual cases with defendants by participating in the roles of a juror, defense attorneys and prosecution attorneys.

3) WHO MAY VOLUNTEER FOR TEEN COURT?

Any middle or high school student ages 13 – 18 years old may volunteer.  There is no formal application process or required training sessions.  All students will participate in brief orientations each Teen Court evening.  Students, who participate in the roles of defense and prosecution attorneys, are personally trained each Teen Court evening by Mr. Troy Lovell, counsel with the Florida Bar Association.

4) HOW DO I VOLUNTEER FOR TEEN COURT?

Choose any Tuesday evening and call the Teen Court recorded message line (813-272-6177) to verify there are no cancellations.  All first time volunteers are required to serve on the jury once prior to volunteering in the roles of attorneys.  Parents or guardians are welcome to attend and observe all proceedings.  Students may bring friends.  Please follow the listed dress code.  For more information, please contact Pamela Stokes, Teen Court Coordinator:  stokespl@fljud13.org or 813-272-5953.

5) WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE FOR TEEN COURT?

Please dress appropriately.  Your attire should reflect conservative, respectful and professional dress for court.  Volunteer students serving in the role of a juror may wear nice denim jeans, nice tops with sleeves, dress slacks or skirts/dresses.  Volunteers serving in the role of an attorney may wear dress slacks, khakis, Polo type, collared or button down dress shirts, blouses with sleeves, skirts/dresses.  NO SHORTS or athletic type clothing.

6) WHEN AND WHERE IS TEEN COURT?

Teen Court is held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 pm to approximately 8:00 pm in the Annex Courthouse, 401 North Jefferson Street, Tampa, Florida 33602 on the 2nd floor.  Teen Court is held all year long, through the summer months.  Please call the Teen Court recorded message line (813-272-6177) each Tuesday to verify there are no cancellations prior to attending.  Teen Court hearings are held in various courtrooms on the 2nd floor.

7) WHY JOIN TEEN COURT AS A VOLUNTEER?

Earn 2.5 community service hours each evening towards graduation and scholarships.  Experience mentorship opportunities provided by Teen Court pro bono attorneys each evening. Gain skills and enhance self confidence in communication, public speaking and leadership.  Be part of continuous juror and attorney training while exploring career opportunities in the legal profession.  Build your resume for college applications and career opportunities.  Have a positive influence on your peers and your community!  “TEENS HELPING TEENS”

8) WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF TEEN COURT?

The principal goal of Teen Court is to hold young offenders accountable, by a jury of their peers, for their behavior. Jurors will impose sanctions that aim to repair some of the harm imposed on the victim and community, there by reducing repeat offending.