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Wanted: lawyers willing to be judges

August 27, 2015

Reach for Youth is offering attorneys the opportunity to wear the black robe and test their judicial chops.

The Indianapolis-based nonprofit needs lawyers to serve as volunteer judges for its teen court program serving Marion County and its neighboring counties. Volunteer jurists preside over the entire court proceeding which is designed to give first-time youthful offenders a second chance.

Reach for Youth will be hosting an informational reception for any attorneys who are interested in learning more about the program and possibly volunteering. The event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at The Pub, 30 E. Georgia St., Indianapolis.

RSVP online by clicking here.  Those who RSVP by Sept. 6 will get a free t-shirt and monocle (while supplies last).

For more than 20 years, the teen court has provided first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders with a chance to right their wrongs and avoid a criminal record. Recently, the program has been expanding into schools where it is used as a disciplinary tool alternative to expulsion.

Typically, youths who have admitted to such crimes as theft, battery, resisting arrest and drug offenses are referred to teen court either by the probation office or the local prosecutor. In that court, teenagers comprise the jury and serve as the attorneys.

The jurors observe the proceedings, ask questions and then determine the consequences the teen offenders will face for their actions. They might require the defendant to apologize to his or her family, go to counseling and possibly serve on a teen court jury.  

“It’s a positive program that makes teen offenders think about what they did and how it affects other,” said Janet Monroe, attorney and Reach for Youth board member.

Teen court sessions are usually held once or twice a week starting at 5:30 p.m. and last for about two or three hours.  

To learn more, visit Reach for Youth.


 

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