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Warren Teen Court Program Providing Opportunities

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Warren Teen Court Program Providing Opportunities

Warren County’s Teen Court Program tries to create opportunities for students who are interested in Law Enforcement.

In the program, students decide the fate of a juvenile’s status or delinquent offense instead of a judge. The program is designed to provide valuable courtroom experience to teenage students. General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Ryan Moore said that according to research, juveniles who appear before the program are less likely to re-offend.

“I sit in our teen court sessions and I see juveniles respond very well to their peers,” Moore said. “They are held accountable by their peers, they want to do right by them and this program is definitely working.”

The program is set up for one year at a time and teens will serve in the program as a jury, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, a judge, and a bailiff. Moore said that most of the students in the program are interested in law enforcement, practicing law, and social work. For juveniles who participate and complete the program, the charges they receive would be dismissed.

“If everything goes well, if the teen does everything they are supposed to do, their charges are dismissed at the end of the probation period,” Moore said. “so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Moore said he started the program due to the high number of juvenile delinquents and status offenses. Juveniles who appear before the teen court must be submitted to the jurisdiction by the juvenile’s parents.

“It’s strictly voluntary,” Moore said. “No one is going to make the teen do this if the teen would rather appear before the juvenile judge.”

Common status offenses that appear before the program are traffic and truancy, while also hearing common delinquent offenses such as Harassment, disorderly conduct, and violation of curfew. Moore said the program has students from Warren County High School but he hopes to expand the program to other schools in the county.


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