Teen court seeks help

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Reach for Youth, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that oversees teen court programs in Marion and Johnson counties and over 250 teen court volunteers, must raise $15,000 by March 1 to keep afloat.

Indianapolis attorney and board member Jimmie McMillian, who has been involved for nine years and has volunteered as a judge in teen court, is asking people to give at least $10, which he said can make a difference for the "pee wee league for the legal profession."

Teen court is a diversion program for juveniles accused of non-violent crimes. Their peers - volunteers age 10-17 - serve as attorneys and jurors. Participants in teen court are mentored by lawyers and law school students. Juvenile offenders often become involved with teen court as volunteers, while offender and non-offender volunteers may ultimately decide to become attorneys.

"For kids in our community who have an interest in the law, this helps them in a very real way," he said. "If that doesn't inspire attorneys, I don't know what will."

(Indiana Lawyer published a story about teen court programs around Indiana in the Dec. 13 - 26, 2006, issue, "A jury of their peers.")

Reach for Youth is also waiting for responses about grants they've applied for. Because it remains unknown when they will receive grant money or how much they will receive, every bit helps, he said.

"Our staff took a 10 percent pay cut," he added. "We have already been reducing staff, cutting back cutting back cutting back, and now we're at bare bones."

In response to his initial e-mail sent in early February, McMillian has received a few donations and at least nine calls from parents asking how their children can get involved.

Anyone interested in learning more about Reach for Youth or getting involved may contact Christopher Nunn, Reach for Youth Inc., 3505 N. Washington Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46208. Checks may be made payable to "Reach for Youth, Inc."

The organization can also accept donations by credit card. Call Nunn at (317) 920-5900. The Web site for Reach for Youth, Inc. is

When asked what would happen if the organization doesn't raise $15,000, McMillian said, "The board hasn't made a decision yet. I'm looking at this like I'm going to get this money. I'm not entertaining failure. ... I can't believe we can't get $15,000 out of the Indianapolis legal community."


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise