Duval County Teen Court Program

        Program Description

Teen Court is a diversion program designated for first-time, misdemeanor offenders between the ages of 10-17.  It gives these youth a second chance, yet holds them accountable for their actions. The program directs cases away from juvenile court and provides a forum for defendants (who have admitted guilt) to explain their involvement in the offense.  Specially trained teenagers fulfill the roles of prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, bailiff and jury.  The only adult in the courtroom is the judge, who is a practicing attorney or judge that approves the sentence.  The defendant along with their parent/guardian signs a contract agreeing to carry out the imposed sentence.  If the defendant successfully completes all of the imposed sanctions, adjudication will be withheld, and as a result, there will be no conviction listed on the teen’s record.

Teen Court is based on the philosophy that a youthful law violator is less likely to continue to be an offender when a peer jury decides punishment.   Attempts to interrupt developing patterns of criminal behavior by promoting feelings of self esteem and a healthy attitude towards authority.  The program places a high priority on educating teens about responsibility and consequences for their actions and encourages them to succeed. When indicated, treatment services to address mental health issues, substance abuse and anger management are provided to the youth at no cost to the families with the help of a generous donation made through the Northeast Florida Community Foundation.

Through an anonymous donor from the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Teen Court is able to provide treatment services to address mental health issues, substance abuse and anger management to youth in the program at no cost to the families.  This collaboration is truly appreciated as we continue to use this money for the betterment of the program, the youth served, and our community.

         How To Volunteer

Teen Court would not exist without our wonderful volunteers and we’re always looking for more. There are several volunteer roles at Teen Court. For teens, the roles are Teen Attorney, Teen Bailiff, and Jury Team Member.  For adults, the roles are Teen Court Magistrate and Case Management Support.

Adult Volunteer      
Magistrate – An adult judge or attorney who moderates over Teen Court sessions.  They rule on objections and offer feedback to teen lawyers.
Mock Trial Coaches – An adult judge or attorney who trains teen attorney’s in the practice of law to compete in a circuit-wide competition against students in other Teen Court programs.  
Youth Volunteer     
Defense Attorney – A youth age 12 – 18 years old who is charged with interviewing the juvenile offender and representing them in court.  They are trying to get a minimal sentence for their client (juvenile offender).
Prosecuting Attorney - A youth age 12 – 18 years old who is charged with representing the State of Florida and attempting to prove the level of involvement that the juvenile offender had in the crime.  They are trying to get the teen jurors to impose the maximum sentence on the juvenile offender.
Teen Juror – A youth age 12 -18 years old who is charged with listening closely to the facts in the case and coming up with a just and appropriate sentencing for the juvenile offender.
Bailiff – A youth age 12 – 18 years old who calls court to order and monitors courtroom behavior.  They are charged with maintaining order in the courtroom.  They must notify an adult staff member if problems occur.
For more information about volunteer opportunities or to be added to The Teen Court e-mail list, contact the Teen Court Volunteer Coordinator at 904-255-1036. 

          Dress Code

No shorts, jeans, fitted clothing, hats, tennis shoes (sneakers),  stilettos, sandals (flip-flops or open toed), capris, t-shirts, spaghetti straps, baggy clothing, clothing with loud or obscene logos, no sunglasses.  Shirts must be tucked in.  No food, drinks or chewing gum allowed.
Dress appropriately.  You will be in the Duval County Courthouse. Acceptable clothing options include khaki pants, dress slacks, collared shirts, nice dresses (knee length or longer), skirts (knee length or longer), shirt and blouses that cover up.  

          Location and Time

Duval County Courthouse, 501 West Adams Street, Jacksonville, Fl. 32202.
Teen Court takes place on the 2 nd floor Court Room 212. 
Teen Court is held on Monday evening (please refer to our calendar for court session dates).  Volunteers should arrive by 4:00 pm. 

          Contact Us     

For more information about Teen Court, contact us at 904-255-1030.

Stacy Peterson, Program Director - Teen Court  -  (904) 255-1032
Melanie Southworth, Sexting Citation Coordinator - (904) 255-1030  
Courtney Gullman, Teen Court Volunteer Coordinator - (904) 255-1036

           News & Related Links

Jacksonville Daily Record
Clay County Teen Court Program
Nassau County Teen Court Program

            Related Information

2017 Calendar
Adult Volunteer Application
Youth Volunteer Application
Community Service Form
Community Service Tracking Log