Granville County Teen Court in full swing!
If you have attended Teen Court in the past and have had the chance to attend this year whether it is as a volunteer, defendant, guest, or observer you may be wondering…what in the world has gotten into these attorneys?! In just the first three nights of the year we have all seen a huge change in our youth attorneys. You may be asking yourself as are we…what has fueled such an incredible turn around? Is it something in the water? A whole summer to rejuvenate? Saturday marathons of Law & Order? Is there someone behind the scenes offering inspiring speeches or are we simply witnessing the maturity and growth that we’ve always known these attorneys were holding in their back pockets?
Whatever it is, the Teen Court staff, its volunteers, Judge’s and supporters cannot wait to see this action take place in the courtroom every night of Teen Court! This past Teen Court hearing held on October 9th put on display the skills and techniques these youth attorneys have been protecting for over a years time. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind before this October, you can be sure now these kids will be ready for competition!
“ALL RISE,” Proclaimed our Madam Bailiff, and October 9th Teen Court Hearing began just as any other. Judge Yancey addressed the courtroom and you quietly heard the whispers between the youth attorneys, the jury sat up in their seats and began hearing the details of the first case on the docket. It was clear from the get go that these attorneys had done their homework, their opening statements were crisp and descriptive. When the first witness was called to the stand, questioning began and right away you heard “OBJECTION” and the arguments began. Respectful banter ensued back and forth between attorneys arguing their opinions to the Judge. The defense stood tall going to battle for their client, while the prosecution argued to bring out any and all facts they could to weaken the credibility of the defense. If you looked around the courtroom at the time you saw a proud smile on the faces of volunteers, staff, and even Judge Yancey. Everyone was thinking the same thing, it’s about time! When questioning moved to the prosecution it was clear that these attorneys were quite puzzled by the alleged story the defendant had given. Right away the prosecution began to question every little detail regarding the time line. For the first time in Teen Court history a defendant was asked to actually stand up and give a clear demonstration of how the events took place regarding the assault. Who would have thought?! What a great way to paint a picture for the jury! I’m sure this exact demonstration stirred up some interesting conversation while the jury deliberated.
Both cases heard on this night were very sensitive and as always extremely confidential. It shouldn’t be hard to imagine how much courage it takes as a youth of our community to get up in front of their peers and admit and take responsibility for their poor decisions. The utmost amount of respect is given to both our volunteers and defendants. A special reminder to all who are in the courtroom on our Teen Court nights, confidentiality is something that is taken very seriously and should always be abided by.
To all of our youth volunteers, adult volunteers, Judges’, and supporters we cannot thank you enough and hope to see everyone continue to grow this year!!
_ Granville County Teen Court has entered a new age of technology this summer! As many of you know we are already on Facebook but have most definitely slacked off on updating it for you as often as we should have. If you haven’t already taken notice we are working very hard at changing that this year. We have also entered the Twitter world and you can follow us @grancoteencourt and our website will soon be regularly updated with blogs, newsletters, surveys, and hopefully some pictures! We hope that this is only the start to new beginnings for the Granville County Teen Court program. This year we are welcoming adult case managers to help with case management. We heard a record breaking 50 cases last year! We hope and are prepared for these numbers only to continue to rise, serving the youth of Granville County with a diversion program that some would describe as being more difficult to go through than juvenile court. If you are an adult who has not been involved in Teen Court previously but would like to volunteer just a small portion of your time monthly please be sure to contact us as soon as possible! We can be contacted through one of our many websites, by email, or by phone. If you are a returning adult volunteer and are interested in being a case manager please get in touch with us so that we can get you this info as soon as possible! While the number of cases we heard increased we also had an incredible number of new volunteers join the Teen Court family last year, and we are welcoming with open arms new volunteers again this year. Unfortunately because of the overwhelming numbers of interested students, we are only going to be able to take a limited number from each school. You may have already noticed on our homepage or on Facebook and Twitter that all applications must be submitted by September 14th! All returning volunteers must also fill out a renewal application, all of these are available on our website in the “Become a Volunteer!” section. Please be sure to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have and don’t forget to take our Kick-Off Survey on our homepage!! See everyone September 25th!
Last night we held the first Teen Court hearing of the year. What an awesome night! As many of you know, Teen Court is completely run by the gracious volunteers of the community. There are many things that I hear from those around the community that Granville County lacks (i.e. movie theaters, skating rinks, etc.). But there is one thing that I have found in Granville County that exceeds above other places and that is the genuine care that people have for others in the community. When I looked around Teen Court last night I could not help but to feel proud to be a part of something so great. Everyone in that room last night was there for the sole purpose of making a difference in the lives of the youth in our community. Over the next couple of blogs I am going to highlight some special volunteers within the program. But as a whole......Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!
We are at the beginning of a new school year and a new year for Teen Court. We have already received some referrals from throughout the county. What would you guess would be the number one infraction right now? If you guessed fighting, you would be correct. Fighting occurs in many different places for many different reasons. Most of the time fights stem from misinterpretations and misunderstandings of another person's intentions. Other fights have definitive motives that include fighting over a boyfriend/girlfriend or over what someone has said. The truth is that most fights begin over what someone says that another person says! Already it is confusing as you try to maneuver through the twist and turns of the origin of a fight. The truth of the matter is that by the end of the day the two people who are fighting, don't even know why they are fighting. If you think that is crazy consider this...the person who has usually instigated the situation is somewhere on the sidelines watching the fight unfold! People make bad decisions when they decide to fight and because of that they can be held criminally responsible. Most fights don't even last a minute but the participants may have to endure months of court dates and inconveniences for their family and end the situation with a juvenile criminal record. But what can you do as a youth in the community? There are small steps you can take: don't participate in spreading gossip, don't associate with people who are constantly involved in drama and if a problem comes up try to handle it maturely. On September 17th, fifteen youth in the community took another step by pledging to do their part in helping their peers by becoming volunteers with the Teen Court program. What will be our contribution?
We are gearing up for a new year. There will be a new volunteer training on Saturday, September 17th from 9am-3pm. Please RSVP by calling the office at 919-603-1350
The new year is getting started! The first teen court hearing will be held on September 27th. I have already received numerous applications and I must say that it looks as if we have a great pool of volunteers this year.
Today is the first day of our website. Please check back often for updates. Trainings, hearings and activities will be posted here and on facebook for information. We are looking forward to a new year and are excited to have our returning volunteers in addition to new ones! Please feel free to post comments (make sure they are appropriate, no profanity).