Teens Convene in Nashville Wednesday for Annual 'Youth Court Day on the Hill' - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 27, 2010

Youth court participants to attend training and legislative meetings

NASHVILLE, April 27, 2010 — Twenty-five Wilson County high school students who participate in the state Youth Court Program will convene in Nashville tomorrow, Wednesday, April 28, for the fourth annual Youth Court Day on the Hill. The teens will gather at the Tennessee Bar Association for a training session in the morning, which also will include a presentation by Assistant Attorney General Gregory Nies, and then visit the state capitol to meet with legislators.

The Wilson County Youth Court was started in 2003. It hears cases from all schools within the county school district and holds its sessions at the local Juvenile Court.

The state youth court program is administered by The Tennessee Legal Community Foundation, the charitable arm of the Tennessee Bar Association. Youth courts, sometimes referred to as teen or peer courts, offer an opportunity for teenagers to prosecute, defend and act as jurors for other youth accused of misdemeanor offenses such as shoplifting, truancy or alcohol possession. Cases are referred to youth courts by local juvenile courts and, in many locations, attorneys and judges serve as advisors to the youth court. Youth courts have a dual benefit of reducing the caseload in juvenile court -- freeing the court to focus on more serious crimes -- and providing valuable civics education for Tennessee students. The first youth court in Tennessee opened in 2001. There are now 11 courts in the state located in Crockett, Davidson, Haywood, Jackson, Lake, Madison, Montgomery, Sullivan, Sumner, Warren and Wilson counties. Four youth courts will be launched in Memphis this fall. Cities or counties interested in starting a youth court program should contact TBA Youth Court Coordinator Alexanderia Honeycutt at (615) 383-7421. Learn more about youth courts at https://www.tba.org/youth-courts