No Series: Youth Court

Youth Court

Lesson Objective: Students charged with misdemeanors are tried by a jury of peers
Grades 9-12 / Behavior / Juvenile Justice
15 MIN

PLEASE CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT OR LOG IN TO ACCESS THIS CONTENT

Enjoy your first video for free. Subscribe for unlimited access.

Have questions about subscribing? Click Here to learn more.

Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. Could you apply the principles of Youth Court and restorative justice in your classroom or school?
  2. As part of their sentence, most students have to serve on a jury. How does that experience contribute to their personal growth?
  3. The completion and recidivism rates are incredible. Why?

5 Comments

  • Private message to Noah Block

Hi everyone, we've innovated quite a bit since this has come out, and become a lot more restorative. Check out https://www.ytjustice.org/ for more information. 

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Keisha Jenkins

Wait a minute.  Is a cop allowed to stop and search you for no reason?  Was it illegal to be riding the skateboard?  Maybe it's illegal for a minor to be smoking a cigarette, but the search sounds like an illegal search to me.  Just an observation.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Jose Rodriguez
The Youth Court is a great concept because it allows for students who have committed a crime to be tried by a jury of their peers and gives the jury students to practice their group discussion and collaboration skills while also learning about the justice system and how it works.
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Nicole Hilton
Thank you for posting this! I'd love to see more of this as districts are moving toward more of a restorative justice model. This is so very powerful for the students acting as the jury! Again, thank you!
Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Christina Floyd
Justice is beautiful! It touches my heart to see the peers ask personal questions about family life; so often the root of the behavior problem is a situation in the home. This doesn't excuse the behavior, but it gives them an idea of the kind of restoration that the student needs in order to change their behavior. Thanks for sharing this-- so glad to see so much compassion and maturity in these students!
Recommended (0)

External Resource Materials

Transcripts

  • Transcript for Youth Court with Participation of the Marin County Youth Court

    Ron The Bailiff VO
    All rise.

    Veronica VO/OC
    We knew

    Transcript for Youth Court with Participation of the Marin County Youth Court

    Ron The Bailiff VO
    All rise.

    Veronica VO/OC
    We knew we were in trouble, right when we came up because he made us sit in a line on the beach.

    Brandon OC
    He searched me and he found like an eighth of marijuana on me.

    Jade OC
    I got into some trouble at school with drinking and got caught.

    Ron The Bailiff OC
    Marin County Youth Court is now in session. The Honorable Roy Chernus presiding. Please be seated and come to order.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Youth Court

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Although Marin County Youth Court is an alternative to the traditional juvenile criminal court system, this is a real court.

    Don Carney OC
    Youth Court…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Don Carney
    Director, Marin Co. Youth Court

    …is a diversion program that helps keep juveniles out of the Juvenile Justice System.

    Judge Roy Chernus OC/VO
    They have accepted responsibility for their actions and they will be held accountable for those actions in this courtroom.

    Don Carney VO/OC
    The unique thing about Youth Court is there is peer review. It changes the power relationship between adults and teens and puts teens in charge of sanctioning other teens.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#4975961: Brandon
    -Riding Without A Helmet
    -Possession Of Marijuana

    Ron The Bailiff VO/OC
    Do you solemnly swear what you are about to say in the case now pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    Brandon OC
    I do.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Please describe the details of the, both violations to the peer jury.

    Brandon OC/VO
    I was riding my skateboard home from school. I got stopped by a Marin County sheriff’s officer. He saw me smoking a cigarette. He put me in the back of his cruiser and searched my backpack and he found the marijuana in my backpack and that’s it.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Not just your typical courtroom situation…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Roy Chernus
    Judge

    …where the jurors are just a passive audience. All the members of the jury are required to ask questions and they do call each other on stuff.

    Male In Black Windbreaker OC
    Do you often smoke marijuana?

    Brandon OC
    Yes.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO
    How often is that?

    Brandon OC
    Probably every day.

    Male With Orange Neck Band VO/OC
    What were your consequences at home for the crime?

    Brandon OC
    Didn’t have any.

    Male In Light Blue Shirt VO/OC
    The officer, he says that you were sort of defiant and you kept raising your voice. Were you angry?

    Brandon OC
    Yeah, I mean if I got, I mean I thought it was a B.S. crime.

    Female In Pink Turtleneck VO/OC
    Were you skateboarding high?

    Brandon VO/OC
    No. I had just come from school and I don’t smoke during school.

    Female In Pink Turtleneck OC/VO
    Do you, do you still not wear a helmet? Are you planning on wearing a helmet?

    Female In Black And White Sweater VO/OC
    Do you realize that your actions are not okay?

    Brandon OC
    Yeah, in some people’s eyes.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater OC
    Do you drink or do any other drugs other than weed?

    Brandon VO/OC
    I only smoke weed and smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol; that’s it.

    Male In Black Windbreaker OC/VO
    Has this experience changed your views of marijuana or drugs in general?

    Brandon OC
    No.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater OC
    How, how do both of your parents feel about you drinking and doing drugs? Like do they know that you drink and everything?

    Brandon OC
    I mean yeah, both of them do. They just can’t stop me.

    Male In Black Hoodie OC
    What’s your family life like?

    Brandon VO/OC
    Parents got divorced twice, a lot of arguing. Been on my own a couple times so.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    So it’s okay that you’re younger than 21 and to drink despite the fact that that’s against the law?

    Brandon OC
    I never said that was okay.

    Judge Roy Chernus OC
    Excuse me. Let me just ask; there’s three of these things here now. So there’s the drinking less than 21 and that’s your culture. You can ride your skateboard without a helmet despite the fact that’s against the law and that’s okay, and it’s okay to be a minor in possession of marijuana despite that’s a no go. So I’m just asking, what do you think should happen to you?

    Brandon OC
    I don’t know. You guys are supposed to be the jury; you’re the judge. I mean I’m here to get sentenced, that’s it. I’m supposed to do my time. I did something wrong. I take the consequences.

    Female In Red Jacket VO
    Are you irritated right now?

    Brandon OC
    Yeah, a little bit.

    Female In Red Jacket OC
    We’re not here to get angry at you or pick on you or anything like that, tell you what to do. We’re just trying to help you out so.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Okay. Do you have any final statement to make to the jury before they deliberate? In a juvenile court proceeding they don’t have a right to a jury. They could just get decide, their cases get decided by a judge or a judicial officer and it is a entirely different proceeding when you have kids who are make, actually making a decision what’s gonna happen to this, this kid.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#4975961: Brandon
    Jury Deliberation

    Ron The Bailiff VO/OC
    Something’s obviously wrong with this kid. Let’s just, let’s help him out. Being the bailiff is probably the most important job in there, you know what I mean? I make sure everyone is on point. I make sure the whole room is held, holding a courtroom manner. I put on this…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Ron
    Bailiff

    …kind of a, a pretty tough guy attitude when I’m in there, but once the door is closed on deliberation I’m, you know actually I’m you know I’m just like you and we’re gonna get through this and help this person.

    Female In Red Jacket VO/OC I
    think we should give him some credit. He’s really brave to share a lot of stuff that was going on with his life with us.

    Male In Light Blue Shirt OC/VO
    What I would say is that he’s, he I mean he got like angry at us on the stand so I think giving him a whole bunch of community service hours is just gonna piss him off more and not really do anything.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater VO/OC
    But even if it does piss him off like it’s like he said up there, he makes his choices. Like if he chooses not to do them then he can deal with the juvenile justice system.

    Female In Red Jacket VO/OC
    Yeah but I mean that’s not true that community service he’s not gonna get the help and like positive things that he needs that you’re gonna take from therapy and, and anger management.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater VO/OC
    Yeah, I definitely, I definitely would be like family therapy, anger management and stuff.

    Female In Black And White Sweater VO/OC
    I mean that might not even be enough honestly because…

    Don The Bailiff VO
    Well let’s.

    Female In Black And White Sweater OC
    …he’s still doing it, he’s not gonna change. He’s obviously admitting to being like an addict so.

    Female With Blonde Hair VO/OC
    He’s acting like he’s above the law almost saying hey, I can do whatever I want, right?

    Female In Pink Turtleneck OC
    Our goal isn’t really to make him mad and if we gave him I think a lot of hours he would not take anything from it.

    Male In Light Blue Shirt VO/OC
    I would lean towards like anger counseling, family therapy, personal therapy, A-A meetings, N-A meetings

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#497561: Brandon
    The Sentence

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Bailiff of the Court, has the peer jury reached a decision on the restorative plan?

    Ron The Bailiff VO/OC
    Yes Your Honor. Brandon, a jury of your peers has decided that your restorative justice plan for today shall be…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#4975961: Brandon
    -Decisions Under The Influence {DUI}
    -2 Jury Duties
    -33 Hours Community Service
    -Anger Management
    -Drug/1 On 1/Family Counseling
    -3 Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

    …mandatory D-U-I workshop, two times jury duty, 33 hours of community service, an anger management class, drug one on one and family counseling and three A-A meetings.

    Brandon VO/OC
    They asked some questions that were sensitive to me and I believe that they got the reaction that they were looking for. I didn’t respond like out of anger or anything. I mean I just responded the truth and that’s what I was supposed to do so. I learned to be smarter in what I do and not to get stopped by a police officer riding my skateboard without a helmet so.

    Don Carney OC
    Most of the kids who come through the Youth Court feel as though they’ve had a real opportunity to be respected and to be heard by their peers and to get back in the good graces of their community.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#356102: Jade
    -Burglary
    -Truancy

    Female In Black Top VO/OC
    You will see repeatedly tonight that the respondent has made some incredibly poor choices and we need to make sure that she knows how to control her impulses.

    Female In Red Shirt VO/OC
    After you hear Jade’s story you will learn that there’s a lot more to her than the crime suggests.

    Don Carney VO/OC
    If a youth has created an external victim, stolen the alcohol, sold the drugs, done graffiti, then we use student prosecution and defense attorneys. We want to turn the heat up a bit on the kid because once they’re creating victims they’re on their road to real problems with the law.

    Female In Red Shirt OC
    Would you like to tell the jury what happened on January second?

    Jade VO/OC
    At lunch me and one of my friends went to Safeway and I got Skyy and she got some Smirnoff. The next day when I went back to school, that’s when the security came and got me out of my class and then asked me what happened.

    Male In Khaki Pants OC
    Before you were caught, how often did you do this? By this I mean drink at school.

    Jade OC
    Drink at school, not. That was my first time getting drunk at school.

    Male In Khaki Pants VO
    Why did you decide to do that day?

    Jade OC
    I don’t know, just feeling gutsy I guess.

    Male In Khaki Pants VO/OC
    So how often did you steal alcohol?

    Jade VO/OC
    That time, this case, and then once after that.

    Male In Khaki Pants OC
    Once after you were cited?

    Jade VO/OC
    Yeah, there was another, there was another time I’ve been caught drinking at school.

    Male In Khaki Pants VO/OC
    So you got caught once, you got caught drinking at school, but getting caught, getting arrested, having to come to Youth Court, that didn’t stop you until, I mean, you did it again after that so.

    Jade OC/VO
    I didn’t get arrested, I got cited, but I did it again because I hadn’t done it in a while and I wanted to. I really didn’t think I was gonna get caught. I didn’t plan on getting as drunk as I did.

    Judge Ann Cummings VO/OC
    So for the jurors, it’s now time for you to ask the respondent questions. I was a high school teacher before I went to law school. It’s an instant civics lesson. I am really able to talk to them about different parts of the process, so in that sense in terms of a…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Ann Cummings
    Judge

    …real live classroom, being able to explain something as the process is happening and as the process unfolds, and it has consequences, that to me is, makes it extremely exciting.

    Male In White Tee Shirt OC/VO
    Were you easily influenced to steal and drink?

    Jade OC
    It’s not that I was influenced. I just didn’t really care.

    Male In Black V-Neck Shirt OC
    When you were in the store about to steal, did you ever have a thought in your mind that it was wrong or anything?

    Jade VO/OC
    I knew it was wrong from the beginning but I just didn’t really care.

    Male With Earrings OC/VO
    You ever smoke weed like at lunch at school?

    Jade OC
    I have before, yeah.

    Judge Ann Cummings VO/OC
    I always feel it’s my duty to remind everybody that marijuana is illegal, including what your parents are doing. That the use of marijuana is illegal, buying it is illegal. Drinking under age is illegal; buying alcohol under age is illegal. All of these things are illegal. They get to explore the whole universe of what it’s like to be in a courtroom, what it’s like to be before a judge, what it’s like to be questioned, and the restorative part is having their peers there ask the questions and not, I think their peers ask pretty tough questions.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#356102: Jade
    Closing Arguments

    Female In Print Shirt VO/OC
    I want to clarify a few things because I think a lot of this case is about change. I talked with her before this case about her rates for alcoholism. She knows that figure and she’s worried about that. That’s why when you see what she talks about in her behavior; she says that she’s changed the way that she drinks.

    Male In Khaki Pants VO/OC First of all, the stealing alcohol. Jade seems to demonstrate sort of no remorse about it.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#356102: Jade
    Jury Deliberation

    Male In Charcoal Tee Shirt VO/OC
    Needs to understand to like give back rather than take.

    Male In Charcoal Shorts OC
    Saying three N-A, three A-A.

    Female In Red Top VO/OC
    I’d say three jury duties, 25 hours of community service.

    Female With Red Hair VO/OC
    I feel like half of what she did was, her explanation was that she was bored. Now if she’s bored she can do community service.

    Male With Earrings OC
    I’ll go with 35 hours.

    Male In Light Gray Tee Shirt OC
    30 hours of community service, three A-A meetings and three jury duties.

    Male In Black Stripe Shirt VO/OC
    Some parental counseling and therapy, maybe building a better relationship with her mother would lead to better results in school and an overall behavioral change.

    Female In Red Top VO
    I would definitely say like a letter of apology to Safeway.

    Male In Charcoal Shorts OC
    Yeah.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#356102: Jade
    The Sentence

    Ron The Bailiff VO
    It is decided that your restorative justice plan for today shall be…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#356102: Jade
    -Decisions Under The Influence {DUI}
    -3 Jury Duties
    -33 Hours Community Service
    -Letter Of Apology To Safeway
    -Drug Counseling
    -3 Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

    …mandatory D-U-I workshop, three jury duties, 33 hours of community service, letter of apology to Safeway, drug counseling and three meetings of A-A.

    Judge Ann Cummings VO
    So the court sentences you as recommended by your peers and the…

    Jade VO/OC
    I don’t want to go through this again. I know if I do I could end up getting arrested or something like that, so the peers, they know what it’s like being my age and what I’m going through. They’re definitely fair.

    Judge Ann Cummings OC
    They know the impact of the sentence because many of them have had to, have been sentenced themselves, I mean most of them. So I think the sentences definitely fit the crime.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#155981: Veronica
    -Minor In Possession Of Alcohol

    Veronica VO/OC
    It was the day after my birthday and me and my friends went down to Stinson Beach and we brought alcohol with us because we thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday. We got caught and all searched and then they caught me with alcohol in my bag.

    Female In Black And White Stripe Sweater OC
    Did you guys have a designated driver that day?

    Veronica VO
    We did, yeah.

    Female With Red Hair VO
    Do you drink often?

    Veronica OC
    No. I mean it’s like a social thing for me

    Female In Pink Turtleneck OC
    And how are your grades?

    Veronica VO/OC
    They’re good. I’m doing pretty good. Got a three point five G-P-A so that’s good for me.

    Male In Black Glasses VO/OC
    Have you ever done any other drugs?

    Veronica VO/OC
    Yeah. I’ve smoked marijuana before.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Yeah I, I’ve got a question. I’m looking at the police report. So there’s how many wine coolers were there?

    Veronica VO/OC
    There was a six or eight pack.

    Judge Roy Chernus OC/VO
    A six or eight pack and then there was an 18 pack of beer?

    Veronica OC
    Yeah.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO
    And, and marijuana?

    Veronica VO
    Yes, not mine but someone else was caught with that.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO
    Okay and, and how many of you were there?

    Female Voice #1 VO
    And tequila.

    Veronica VO
    There was,

    Judge Roy Chernus OC
    And oh I’m sorry, and tequila.

    Veronica OC
    Yes. That wasn’t mine either.

    Judge Roy Chernus OC
    Okay and how many of you were there?

    Veronica OC/VO
    Six, but then one was let off or no, five, one was let off, so four.

    Judge Roy Chernus OC/VO
    That’s a lot of alcohol and drugs for five people.

    Veronica OC
    Yeah. We weren’t planning on drinking all of it but.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater VO/OC
    You said you live with your aunt and your uncle.

    Veronica VO
    Yeah.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater OC
    Where are your parents?

    Veronica OC
    My parents actually passed away when I was younger so.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater OC
    Sorry to hear that.

    Veronica VO
    It’s okay.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater OC
    How does that affect you?

    Veronica VO/OC
    Kind of keeps me from doing it because their death was alcohol related so.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Any other questions? Veronica, you’ve now been questioned by the peer jury which will be responsible for determining what sanctions to impose.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#155981: Veronica
    Jury Deliberation

    Male In Light Blue Shirt VO
    That girl was a breath of fresh air.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater OC
    Wrong place, wrong time.

    Male In Light Blue Shirt VO
    I’m like, seriously.

    Female In Red Jacket OC
    Really.

    Male Voice #1 VO
    15-two…

    Male With Light Brown Hair VO/OC
    15 hours and two jury duties.

    Female Seated In Back Row VO
    15 and two.

    Male Wearing Black Glasses VO
    15 and two.

    Male With Letter A On Shirt OC
    I’ll go 15 two.

    Male In Light Blue Shirt VO/OC
    15 two.

    Female In Pink Plaid Sweater VO/OC
    15 and two with the recommendation that she does her community service over here.

    Ron The Bailiff VO
    Okay.

    Female In Red Jacket OC
    15 and five

    Ron The Bailiff VO
    15 and five…

    Female In Red Jacket OC
    Straight up, 15 and five.

    Ron The Bailiff VO
    Okay.

    Female Voice #2 VO
    She would make a really good jury member.

    Female In Red Jacket OC
    She would. I mean like she seems like she’d be impartial. She’d be understanding of what’d be going on. I mean…

    Female Voice #3 VO
    It’s working.

    Female In Red Jacket OC/VO
    …she has her own stuff that she’d deal with but she hasn’t resorted. She’s kind of taking not necessarily like it was a blessing that her parents passed away but she took it as a blessing.

    Female In Black And White Stripe Sweater VO/OC
    I want her on my jury. I’m sorry; I’ve just got to say that.

    Ron The Bailiff OC
    Okay.

    Female Voice #4 VO
    15 and two.

    Male In Tan Jacket OC
    15 and two.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#155981: Veronica
    The Sentence

    Judge Roy Chernus VO
    Bailiff of the Court, has the peer jury reached a decision on the restorative plan?

    Ron The Bailiff OC/VO
    Yes Your Honor. Veronica, a jury of your peers has decided that today your restorative justice plan shall be…

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Case#155981: Veronica
    -Decisions Under The Influence {DUI}
    -2 Times Jury Duties
    -15 Hours Community Service

    …a mandatory D-U-I workshop, two times jury duty and 15 hours of community service.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Veronica, this court hereby sentences you as recommended by your peers.

    Veronica VO/OC
    It was kind of a wakeup call. Everyone thinks they’re invincible when they’re a teenager so actually getting caught is like okay, better stop it now before I get caught again and stuff like that.

    Don Carney VO/OC
    We measure success by our completion rate and our recidivism rate and we have a very strong completion rate of about 95 percent, and our recidivism rate’s about eight percent.

    Judge Roy Chernus VO/OC
    Really believe that this is one of the most effective modes of dealing with juvenile delinquency that I’ve ever seen.

    GRAPHICS ON SCREEN
    Youth Court

    FADE TO BLACK

Teachers

Don Carney

Newest

TCH Special
|
42 MIN

Webinar / Distance Learning / Engagement

TCH Special
|
58 MIN

Webinar / Class Culture / Coaching

TCH Special
|
56 MIN

Webinar / Professional Learning / Coaching

TCH Special
|
45 MIN

Webinar / Assessment / Distance Learning

TCHERS' VOICE

Engagement

TCHERS' VOICE

Lesson Planning

TCHERS' VOICE

Engagement