Humboldt County Teen Court

OUR 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 training, 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.

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:

COURTHOUSE HEARINGS: 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. These hearings occur on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays of the month.

JURY COUNCILS: 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 the Teen Court office 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 IN 3 EASY STEPS:

1

Watch our Orientation Video :

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2

Fill out our Application Form:

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3

Start volunteering!

You start volunteering right away, but will still need to attend a group training when it occurs, which is typically in the fall and spring.

TEEN COURT LEADERS PROGRAM

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 the community and go on field trips.

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 had an amazing impact on my life. Teen Court shows how people can change with the right chance.``

McKenna

Former Teen Court Member

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CONTACT INFO

PHONE:
HOURS:
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00am-6:00pm
Courthouse Sessions
1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month
4:15pm-6:00pm
2nd Floor of the County Courthouse, Eureka
Jury Councils
Tuesday and Wednesdays as needed
4:15pm-6:00pm
Teen Court Office, Eureka
Leaders Program
2nd, 4th, & 5th Thursdays of the month, Sept-May
4:15pm-6:15pm
Teen Court Office, Eureka
ADDRESS:
939 Harris St, Eureka CA 95503

CALENDAR

Teen Court Quarterly Newsletter

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``Teen Court provided me with a second chance at my youth as well as gave me an opportunity for a better future. Through my experiences with the program I have developed a set of moral standards beyond anything I've ever been taught before. ``

Michael

Former Teen Court Member

Teen Court Supporters

Partner Agencies:

Humboldt County Probation Department
Arcata Police Department Youth and Family Services Division
Humboldt County Superior Court
Eureka City Schools

Mentor Judge:

Honorable Chris Wilson

Mentor Attorneys:

Shelly Addison – Christina Allbright
Luke Brownfield – David Nims
Randall Davis – Natalie Duke
Heidi Holmquist-Wells – Brent Kling
Neal Latt – Damara Moore
Greg Rael – Erin Rowe
Casey Russo – Jeff Slack
Trent Timm – Jessica Watson
Megan Yarnall – Nate Zwerdling

Additional Supporters:

Humboldt County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission
Humboldt State University Social Work Department
Humboldt State University Criminology & Justice Studies, Sociology Department
Community Justice Network for Youth
Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration

Local Donors

Humboldt Sponsors

Jonathan & Erin Flyer

Humboldt County Bar Association

TEEN COURT STAFF

Sacha Marini

Program Director

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.

Jenny Downs

Program Coordinator

Jenny Downs came to the Teen Court as Program Coordinator in 2018.  Jenny is a poet and a single mother of four awesome young adults who are all community activists of one kind or another.  Prior to joining Teen Court, Jenny managed a successful Martial Arts School in the Bay Area where she also taught fitness and women’s self-defense classes.  On the side, she taught creative writing workshops for youth and teens in local schools and summer camps.   She developed an interest in Juvenile Justice when she signed on as a volunteer with The Beat Within, an organization that encourages incarcerated youth to find their voices through weekly writing workshops that produce writing for a bi-weekly printed magazine.In that volunteer role and through many conversations with incarcerated young people, Jenny found that she wanted to contribute to the movement towards rehabilitative justice for all.  She is pleased to have the opportunity to follow this passion in a role where her daily tasks help local teens find success in their experience of, and service to, the Teen Court program.  Outside of work, Jenny continues to bring the art of writing creatively into the lives of incarcerated youth while developing her own skills as a poet and teacher of creative writing in an MFA program.