YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Twenty-eight students will graduate Wednesday, Feb. 10 from the Alliance for Safe Kids’ Youth Court program in Yorktown.
In the six-week program, participants learn various aspects of the law and will soon take on real-life court cases prosecuting other teens at the Yorktown Justice Court.
"After many sessions of training in confidentiality, public speaking, documentary review, and case assessment, the Youth Court students take a Bar Exam and then are sworn in as members of the Youth Court,” said Director of Youth Court Nancy Levin.
“Just seeing them devote time and effort to learning something new and interesting and watching them develop into young attorneys right before my eyes."
Graduates of Youth Court serve in the roles of Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Jury, Clerk, and Bailiff for juvenile offenders who have been found guilty of misdemeanors or violations.
The legal and binding procedure determines a fair and restorative sentence in the form of community service hours for the offender.
"I was the defense attorney in one particular case, and after sentencing, I was personally thanked by the offender and her parents,” said Youth Court Intern, Matthew Corrado.
“Seeing the sincere appreciation in her eyes showed me exactly why I choose to serve my community. Every experience that Youth Court provides has been truly gratifying."
Youth Court, founded in 2007, is a program based on a national program developed by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Youth Court is a voluntary alternative to Family Court and the criminal justice system with a goal to steer teens who have committed crimes like disorderly conduct, trespassing, or petty larceny in the right direction at an early age.
The Westchester County Department of Probation and the Yorktown Police Department work in collaboration to decide which local cases would be best suited for the Youth Court graduates to deal with.
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