On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, Los Angeles Senior High School had its first Teen Court trial, which “was a success,” said Ms. Taylor, who along with Ms. Sauter, leads the school’s program, designed to give students a second chance to better themselves.
The court, authorized by law, involves students, a probation officer, the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), and an appointed judge.
Students, initially involved with the program, began preparation over a year ago, as they visited existing teen courts at Fairfax, Dorsey, and Venice.
The probation officer selects first time misdemeanor cases to be heard in Teen Court and gets parent approval to have the case heard in Teen Court, rather than Juvenile Court.
Ms. Taylor chooses twelve, trained, students, to serve on the jury. The jury listens and determines the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Then, they decide the appropriate way to deal with the situation, such as assigning community service hours or counseling.
L. A. High’s Teen Court cases involve those who attend other schools, to prevent jurors from knowing a defendant and seeing each other around school after the trial..
The punishment, when assigned, lasts for about six months. After those six months are up and the student follows instructions, the case is erased from the minor’s record.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.