Purpose and Goal
Teen Court is a nationally acclaimed diversion program designed to divert qualified juvenile offenders from formal Juvenile Court proceedings. Utilizing the principles of restorative justice, Teen Court aims to provide juveniles with the opportunity to accept responsibility for his/her actions by completing sanctions that are designed to be constructive and rehabilitative, seeking to repair the harm done to the victim(s) and to the community. Teen Court attempts to interrupt developing patterns of criminal behavior by providing an opportunity for the juvenile offender to acknowledge his/her crimes, correct thinking errors that result in the commission of a crime and develop a healthy attitude towards authority. Teens become the solution, “not the problem”.
Juveniles entering the program will be responsible for the completion of a set of tasks designed to teach him/her new tools to avoid further criminal activity. Failure to complete all assigned tasks will result in the case being referred to the State Attorney’s Office for a potential criminal prosecution. Completion of the program will allow the juvenile offender to avoid a criminal record which has the potential to exclude him/her from college scholarships, military recruitment, and employment opportunities. Our helpful and experienced staff is ready to assist you, along with fellow teenagers who volunteer to manage the needed judicial, attorney, clerk and bailiff roles.
Who Can Participate?
Teen Court is for youth ages 12-17. Every position (defense and prosecuting attorneys, bailiff, clerk, jurors) in the courtroom is held by a teenager with the exception of the judge, who is an adult member of the Clay County Bar Association.
A trial routine is followed. Prosecution and defense attorneys make opening statements, defendants take the witness stand and are questioned, closing arguments are made and the case is handed over to the teen jury. These jurors decide a fair and just punishment for the crime. Teen Court jury duties, peer circles, and Juvenile Crime Prevention classes are held in the 1890 Historic Courthouse at 915 Walnut Street in Green Cove Springs.
Mandatory Dress Code
Teens are expected to wear dress pants/slacks, collared shirts (tucked in), and/or courtroom appropriate dresses, skirts, and blouses. Teens may not wear jeans, denim, shorts, Capri pants or leggings, long chains, spiked jewelry, sunglasses, hats, flip flops, tops that expose shoulders/stomach, shirts with offensive logos/ wording, short/tight clothing or facial piercings. It is each teenager’s responsibility to dress appropriately. No excuses are accepted for dress code noncompliance. No food, drinks or chewing gum is allowed.
Do you want to make an impact in your community? Are you interested in a career in the justice system? Teen Court is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. Join us and be part of something different and exciting in Clay County. As a volunteer, you will earn community service hours for college and scholarships, in addition to participating in a worthwhile and rewarding experience. Contact our Teen Court staff to learn more.
Teen Court is held twice a month on Thursday evenings in the 1890 Historic Courthouse, 915 Walnut Street in Green Cove Springs. Offices are generally open to the public, with some exceptions, Monday through Thursday from 10am – 6pm.