Humboldt County Teen Court

TEEN COURT

Teen Court is an innovative diversion program for first-time juvenile offenders. It is a real court that is run entirely by teen volunteers. We organize around youth empowerment and restorative justice. We have two court processes. The Eureka courthouse hearings have teens serving in the roles of jury, attorney, clerk and judge, with an adult mentor judge and attorneys providing guidance. We also hold Jury Councils, which involve a handful of teens who sit and listen to the case and come up with an appropriate sentence along with the client. In Jury Councils there are no student attorneys or judges, just a jury of peers. Jury Councils are held at Eureka High School on a Tuesday or Wednesday. In both processes, the teen jury focuses on coming up with a restorative sentence that will help the offender to repair harms and learn from their mistake. These courts are designed to empower youth, promote accountability, provide access to youth resources, and model peer leadership. Teen Courts have succeeded in hundreds of communities across the country because they offer an important educational opportunity for young people to learn about how the justice system works and put civics into practice.

Teen Court is a collaborative program involving the Humboldt County Probation Department, the Humboldt County Superior Court, local police departments and schools, and other community service entities.

GET STARTED WITH TEEN COURT IN 3 EASY STEPS: 

Youth Volunteers (grades 8-12)

1) Watch our ORIENTATION VIDEO

2) Fill out our APPLICATION and Video Quiz

3) Start volunteering immediately! But you will still need to attend a group training when it occurs, which is typically in the fall and spring

 

Watch our TEEN COURT ORIENTATION video:

 

Courthouse Sessions

Leaders Program

1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month
4:15 - 6:15 pm
2nd Floor of the County Courthouse, Eureka
Call first to confirm

2nd, 4th and 5th Thursdays of the month, September-May
4:14 - 6:15 pm
Location: BGCR Teen Center, Eureka
Call for more information

Teen Court offers two track levels of involvement. Everyone starts out with an initial 2 hour training, and volunteers as much or as little as they like. Then at the 2nd semester or the end of the year, youth have the opportunity to decide to join a more intensive track- the Teen Court Leaders.

  • TRACK 1: Volunteer to serve in positions for restorative proceedings. Volunteer as little or as much as you like.
  • TRACK 2: The more intensive track is the TEEN COURT LEADERS PROGRAM, which is geared towards a more involved and committed group of volunteers that meets every Thursday during the school year. Work on court improvements, recruiting and training new volunteers, receive advanced training, make presentations in community and go on field trips

Specifically, Teen Court Leaders activities include:

  • Gain skills to advocate for youth involved in the justice system
  • Lead jury trainings and attorney trainings for new volunteers
  • Plan and coordinate activities, presentations, fundraisers, and community activism
  • Serve on Peer Panels to help case manage ongoing cases
  • Learn more about the criminal justice field from professionals, professors, and others in the field
  • Create Teen Court outreach materials like pins, stickers, flyers, and more
  • Attend out of town conferences and field trips, like California Youth Court Summit every summer

Teen Court Brochure- click here

BRIEF INTERVENTION: for Substance Using Adolescents click here

Teen Court Quarterly Newsletter click here

 

The mission of Humboldt County Teen Court is to provide restorative justice and harm reduction alternatives to the juvenile justice system. We empower youth ages 13-18 with skills, resources, and opportunities to be accountable for their harms and to positively contribute to their communities, schools, and peer groups. Teen Court accomplishes these goals through peer accountability, educational opportunities, youth leadership trainings, Brief Interventions for Substance Using Adolescents program, and a youth court where teen volunteers hear real juvenile criminal cases and determine a restorative sentence that Teen Court monitors.

 

2017 Second Chances Photo Art Show

 

Click here to view the full 2016 SECOND CHANCES Photo Show

Teen Court videos on    

Watch Teen Court Rights and Stereotypes by volunteer Tehva Kastel Riggan

Watch 1/2 hr program JUSTICE FOR AND BY YOUTH: Youth Courts and Accountability Circles

Listen to KHSU Interview with Teen Court  

 

Director Sacha Marini

Sacha began working with the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods in June of 2007 as Program Assistant of Teen Court.  In 2010, Sacha became Director of the program. She has an extensive background of championing restorative justice and human rights in the criminal system. In 1999, she co-founded Bar None, a prisoner advocacy and human rights organization. From 2000-2010, she volunteered with California Prison Focus, a legal advocacy organization based in San Francisco that monitors and reports on the conditions of confinement at super max prisons in California.  Inspired by her volunteer work, she obtained a Paralegal Certificate and an Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from College of the Redwoods in 2006.  She then interned with several attorneys and the Public Defender’s office before starting her work with the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods.

Sacha was initially interested in joining the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods Teen Court program because she loved the idea of giving youth an opportunity to make a difference in their community and empowering them to get positively involved in the justice system. Sacha remains loyal because she has seen the impact we make on youth and their families first-hand. She sees the motto “Great Futures Start Here!” embodied in our program when offenders come to Teen Court for an offense but wish to continue volunteering after the completion of their sentence because they have found a new positive group of friends or a valuable venue where their input and presence makes a lasting impact in another youth’s life.

 

Program Coordinator Nadia Al-Yagout

Nadia obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology & Justice Studies/Sociology from Humboldt State University in 2017. Throughout her academic career, she has gained an immense passion for transformative and restorative justice. She has conducted multiple research projects and spoken at national academic conferences about community accountability and various transformative justice approaches, and even traveled to the Netherlands during the summer of 2016 to study the Dutch’s emphasis of restorative justice in their criminal justice system. She hopes to implement her knowledge and skills at the Boys & Girls Teen Court. Teen Court’s mission resonates with Nadia, as she believes in youth empowerment and their ability to effectively create change in other youth’s lives while positively contributing to the overall success of their community.