Schuyler County Youth Court


YC Court in session.JPG Gavel copy.jpg YC Swearing In.jpg
Est. 1998


WH
AT IS YOUTH COURT?
Youth Court is a voluntary diversion program developed to prevent youth from becoming further involved in the juvenile justice system. This is a Court comprised entirely of Youth (7th – 12th grade). They are the Judges, Law Guardians, Facts Attorneys, Bailiffs and Clerks who are overseen by the Youth Program Coordinator (YPC). Youth that are accused of an infraction are brought here to be judged and sentenced by their peers.


THE YOUTH COURT PROCESS
  • Offense
  • Apprehension
  • Summons
  • Youth Program Coordinator (YPC) Contact
  • Disposition Hearing; Sentences
  • Meeting w/ Youth Program Coordinator
  • Work Sentence, Counseling
  • Follow-up Youth Court Process

WHO CAN MAKE REFERRALS TO YOUTH COURT?

Law Enforcement, Probation, Court System, Schools, Family Members, Neighbors, Peers

WHO CAN BE REFERRED TO YOUTH COURT?

Youths between the age of 7 and 15 years of age who have committed a Misdemeanor, Violation, or Infraction. Youth Court does not handle felony charges.
EXAMPLES OF CASES HEARD IN YOUTH COURT -
  • Assault
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Trespassing
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Vandalism
  • Petit Larceny
  • Drug Charges
  • Disorderly Conduct/Behavior Problems

  • Harassment/Menacing
  • Motor Vehicle Charges (unlicensed operation)
  • Fighting
  • Drug/Alcohol Cases
  • Suspensions
  • Minor Weapons
  • Attendance Concerns
  • Behavior Problems
  • Refusal To Comply With House Rules
Other cases will be accepted on a case by case basis. Circumstances will be considered and a decision will be made at the time of referral.

WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUTH COURT?

The accused is assigned a team (Law Guardians) to defend him/her.

The plea is now made of “guilty” or “not guilty”.

If a not guilty” plea is made, the court is adjourned till a later date. This gives the Facts Team and Law Guardians time to go out and investigate the situation and gather evidence to build their cases for court. This would include interviewing witnesses and possibly, bringing them into the court to testify.

The “guilty” plea would mean the accused would receive their “sentence” same day at the end of the court hearing (in most cases).

In both cases the Facts Attorneys and Law Guardians will present their cases. Judges will determine guilty or not guilty status of the youth. In the case of the guilty plea the information from the case presented, helps the Judges to determine the severity of the sentencing.

An attempt is made to make the sentence fit the crime.

Most offenders are given work hours that are performed under the direction of the Youth Court Coordinator. Some examples of the sentences may include things such as:

  • Restoring damaged property
  • Community Service
  • Attending a program
  • Apology letters
  • Essays (determined by the Judge)

RIGHTS AND ADVANTAGES OF YOUTH COURT


RIGHTS OF OFFENDERS
  • Right to a proper youth court procedure.
  • Right to a quick and uncomplicated youth court hearing. (witnesses will be called if needed)
  • Right to a law guardian.
  • Right to an unbiased youth court procedure.
  • Right to appeal any findings of youth court judges.
  • Must have at least one parent/guardian present.