Kentucky Court of Justice
Scott County students to become certified Teen Court members at swearing-in ceremony Nov. 28
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Thirty-nine Scott County students who have completed Teen Court training will be sworn in as officers of their county court Monday, Nov. 28, in Georgetown. District Court Judge Mary Jane Phelps, who serves Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties and oversees the local Teen Court program, will perform the ceremony. The event will take place at 6 p.m. EST in the District Court Courtroom on the second floor of the Scott County Justice Center, which is located at 119 N. Hamilton St. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.
Scott County teacher Tai Faulkner is the coordinator for the Scott County Teen Court program.
Teen Court programs operate from September through May to coincide with the school calendar. Although a district judge presides over Teen Court, it is operated almost entirely by teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 17.
“Teen Court uses peer pressure in a positive way for juveniles who have committed nonviolent offenses,” said Nadalie Pope, coordinator for Kentucky Teen Court. “We’ve found that peer pressure in a court of law has a profound impact on juvenile offenders and deters them from committing other crimes.”
The Administrative Office of the Courts started Teen Court in 1992 as one of its many law-related education programs. Teen Court has since expanded to 26 programs operating in 32 counties across Kentucky. More than 15,000 students have participated in the program since its inception.
Teen Court programs are made up of student volunteers who have completed five training sessions in courtroom roles such as prosecutor, defense attorney, court clerk, bailiff and juror. All student volunteers take an oath of confidentiality to protect the privacy of the defendants who appear before them. After being found guilty in District Court, the district judge has the option to refer defendants to Teen Court for sentencing. Teen jurors review the facts of the case and hear testimony before recommending a punishment. Often the juvenile defendant will speak on his or her own behalf and apologize for the crime.
Teen Court programs have imposed stiff penalties of up to 80 hours of community service, but more common sentences include lesser amounts of community service, letters of apology, counseling sessions and Teen Court jury duty. Teen Court sentences are legally binding and defendants must complete their sentences within six months or face being sent back to District Court.
For more information, contact Pope at the AOC in Frankfort at 502-573-2350.
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.