Crime - Sacto 911

Teens sought to serve as jurors, counsel in juvenile cases

El Dorado County teenagers interested in serving as personnel in real court cases involving minors accused of offenses are invited to sign up for the county's Teen Court program.

The program operates in Placerville and South Lake Tahoe. Students serve as jurors, prosecuting and defense attorneys, court clerks and bailiffs.

“Community attorneys volunteer to help students develop their cases,” Stephanie Carlson, Teen Court coordinator in Placerville, said in a written statement. “Youth get a real understanding of the juvenile justice system, and defendants receive a fair sentence from their peers and a second chance.”

Students in eighth through 12th grades are invited to attend orientation training sessions this month. The session for student volunteers in the Placerville Teen Court will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18 at the courthouse at 495 Main St., Placerville. Students should plan to arrive by 5:30 p.m. for check-in.

The orientation training for the South Lake Tahoe Teen Court is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at the El Dorado County Superior Court, 1354 Johnson Blvd, South Lake Tahoe. Students should arrive by 4:45 p.m.

Advance registration for the trainings is not necessary. Courtroom attire is required.

Teen Court hearings in Placerville will be held February through May on scheduled Wednesday nights. Hearings in South Lake Tahoe will be held February through April on scheduled Thursday nights. Students will receive a calendar of hearing dates at their orientation training.

The Teen Court program began in El Dorado County in 1992 and is funded through the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, Alcohol and Drug Programs. Teen Court cases are managed by the El Dorado County Probation Department. County Superior Court judges and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office as well as the local Bar Association and local attorneys are important partners in the program, Carlson said.

For more information about the Teen Court program, call Stephanie Carlson at 530-621-6130 in Placerville, or Hector Reyes at 530-573-7959 in South Lake Tahoe.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy