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IBA: Indianapolis Bar Foundation Grant Supports Expansion Of In-School Teen Court

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By Andrew L. Campbell, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
 

andrew campbell Campbell

Last year, a teenager was arrested with paint on his hands that matched the color of freshly painted graffiti on a nearby church. As the teen made his way through the traditional juvenile justice system, his family explained that they were having difficulty communicating with the teen and that there had been fights and bouts of depression. The statistics showed that the likelihood of recidivism was nearly 40 percent.

Fortunately, the teen was diverted from the traditional juvenile justice system to Reach for Youth’s Teen Court, an alternative program where the teen’s peers served as legal counsel and members of the jury. A local attorney presided over a hearing, during which the teen offered his story, and his family and members of the church that he vandalized also spoke. After some pointed questioning, the jury began to understand, better than most adults, the teen’s motivations.

He was nevertheless held to account: 24 hours of community service, 16 hours of restitution toward removing the paint, a written apology to the church, and service to the church’s youth program. The teen was also ordered to attend a workshop on conflict management and serve three sessions iba pullouton a Teen Court jury. Since the hearing, there have been no further incidents and, though his jury appointed service is done, he continues to volunteer with the church youth program. As a participant in Teen Court, the statistics say that the likelihood of recidivism was cut by nearly 25 percent.

As the recipient of the 2012 Impact Fund grant of $35,000 from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, Reach for Youth expanded its successful Teen Court program to include an in-school Teen Court project aimed at halting disruptive behavior before it escalates to criminal activity requiring expulsion. Decatur Middle School, Warren Central High School, and Stony Brook Middle School were among the first participants.

“In a very short amount of time, these schools have witnessed a true culture shift,” reports Reach for Youth’s President and CEO, Michelle Study-Campbell. “By holding students accountable to a jury of their true peers, not simply adult disciplinarians, and imposing constructive rather than simply punitive sentences, the result has been a marked shift in the attitudes of student-participants toward their school community.”

As a result, teachers have reported decreased classroom interruptions, improved behavior, and rising grade points. The students, both participants and offenders, are learning about public service and giving back to their fellow students.

The Foundation’s support has allowed Teen Court to support a part-time social worker to coordinate the in-school project. As a result, Teen Court will continue in Decatur and Warren Townships, and will expand to Irvington Prep Charter School, Bell East Middle School, and Lawrence Township in the coming months. Teen Court is always recruiting attorney-volunteers to serve as judges, and more information can be found online at www.yourteencourt.org.

Through April 1, 2013, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation will be accepting grant applications for its 2013 Impact Fund Grant of $35,000. The Impact Grant will be awarded to a non-profit organization, like Reach for Youth, that seeks to advance the administration of justice and an understanding of the law through philanthropy, education, and service. More information about the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and its grant making can be found online at www.indybar.org/about/bar-foundation/.•

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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