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IBA: Volunteer Judges Needed for Teen Court

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Reach for Youth is seeking local attorneys to serve as volunteer judges at Teen Court, a program designed to reduce recidivism for first-time juvenile offenders by giving them a second chance to repair the harm they’ve caused without experiencing formal court prosecution.

Teen Court also helps teens and pre-teens, aged 11 to 17, to be accountable by providing constructive consequences for their actions while providing leadership opportunities and resolution training for young volunteers as participants in the peer-sentencing court. When teens successfully complete Teen Court, the original charges are dismissed by the court and their record stays “clean.”

The Teen Court program is held three times a week, with each court night beginning at 6 p.m. and concluding around 7:30 p.m. Attorney volunteers serving as volunteer judges preside over three cases scheduled each night. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one court night per quarter, though greater involvement is welcomed and encouraged. Training is provided to all volunteers. Volunteer schedules are flexible and are typically distributed four to six months in advance.

An Open House will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, where prospective volunteers will be able to view a mock Teen Court session to learn more about the program.

Interested in volunteering? Contact Chris Ponti at chrisp@reachforyouth.org, or visit the Reach for Youth website at www.reachforyouth.org to learn more about the program.•

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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