Teen Court

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Overview

The purpose of the Lakewood Municipal Teen Court program is to provide an alternative disposition for juveniles who have committed and received a charge for a minor offense, and are otherwise eligible for diversion. 

Additionally, Teen Court is looking for youth volunteers between the ages of 13-17. Teen volunteers actively participate in the justice system acting as defense attorneys, prosecutors, bailiffs, jury members and as the presiding judge

In the teen court process, a trial takes place in which teen volunteers serve in the capacity of the prosecution and defense attorneys as well as jury members to determine the sentence for a juvenile offender. 

Teen Court is an excellent program for volunteering students to build their confidence in public speaking, follow through on possible career tracks in the justice system as well as the opportunity to meet other students throughout the Lakewood area with similar interests.

When/Where

  • Teen Court is scheduled from August to May throughout the school year while schools are in session. Court is scheduled for every other Tuesday from 4:45 to 6:30 p.m. at Lakewood Municipal Court which is located at 445 S. Allison Parkway. Volunteers sign in at the Probation Department window, which is located within Lakewood Municipal Court. 

Types of Cases Handled by Teen Court

  • Shoplifting
  • Petty Theft
  • Trespassing
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Harassment
  • False Information

Roles

Prosecuting Attorney

BEFORE TRIAL - TO PREPARE

Review the case summary and charge(s)

Review Victim and Witness Statements

  1. Decide if you think the witness and victim statements would be beneficial to your case and if you should use them in court.
  2. Verbal testimony from witnesses and victims is not necessarily needed in teen court.  Certain hearsay evidence is allowed in teen court such as witness statements made to police contained in the case summary. 
  3. Always be prepared to proceed without extra witness or victim statements and testimony. Usually witnesses and victims do not wish to participate in court proceedings.

Prepare an opening statement

a.  Describe the event and state the facts as known. 

b.  Use visual images.  Tell the jury a story of what happened.

c.  Describe aggravating circumstances and/or victim's sentiment.

d.  Personalize the victim’s side.

e.  Develop a theme for your case.

Anticipate the theory of defense and what their mitigating factors will be.

Prepare cross-examination questions for the defendant

a.  Questions should bring out the negative or aggravating factors concerning the defendant's actions including the motive.

b.  Strive to get the witness to agree with facts that support your case.

c.  Use closed ended questions and/or leading questions.

d.  Listen carefully to direct examination questions and look for inconsistencies that may discredit the witness.

e.  Don't argue with the witness.

Ideas for cross-examination

  1. Use leading questions (a question that suggests the answer) and closed-ended questions (questions that are answered yes or no).  Don’t allow the defendant to take charge of the testimony.

    Isn't it true that you went to the high school for the purpose of seeking out Kelly who you thought had beaten up your sister?

    Didn't you know that being on school grounds after hours is against school policy?

  2. Questions concerning the nature of the serious nature of the offense
  3. Do you know that shoplifting raises prices for everyone?
    Didn't you think that you could have seriously injured the victim?

Prepare and determine what is an appropriate sentencing recommendation

  1. Include the reasons/justification behind the recommendation.
  2. Make the recommendation fit the crime and circumstances.

Prepare a closing statement

a.  Highlight aggravating factors.

b.  Summarize facts of what happened, points that make the defendant appear unsympathetic, past offensive behavior, no remorse, no explanation of behavior and the serious nature of the offense.

c.  Remember to anticipate issues raised by the defense that you may want to include your closing statement.

d.  Be creative and persuasive.

e.  Use eye contact.

f.  Consider what the other side might say.

g.  Use rhetorical questions.

h.  Include recommended sentence.

Download PDF(PDF, 67KB)

Defense Attorney

BEFORE TRIAL - TO PREPARE

Review the case summary and charge(s)

  • Look for any mitigating factors.
  • Determine if there is a good explanation or reason for the behavior surrounding the offense.
  • Find the weak points in your case. Prepare ways to handle them if the prosecution should bring them up. When you contact the defendant inform him/her of the weak points of your case and how you plan to handle them.

Contact the defendant 

  • Introduce yourself. Explain you will be handling the case.
  • Discuss the charges and the facts of the case.
  • Determine what you could use as mitigating factors.
  • Tell the defendant to dress nicely and meet you before court.

Review witness statements. Determine if you want to present statements in mitigation.

  • Decide if you would like to present a witness statement (other than what is contained in the case summary) or statement in mitigation i.e. character references, proof of restitution, grades, etc.  A maximum of two documents may be submitted.
  • Statements should help to explain the circumstances or the reason for the behavior surrounding the offense or qualities of the defendant.  These documents should assist the jury in setting sentence.
  • Written statements must be signed by witnesses or supporters.
  • Call the teen court coordinator to request witness information.
  • Opposing counsel must be given copies of the statements before trial.

Prepare an opening statement

  • Describe the event and state the facts as known.
  • Use visual images. Tell the jury a story of what happened.
  • Describe any mitigating circumstances and defendant’s remorse.
  • Personalize the defendant's side.
  • Develop a theme for you case.

Anticipate the theory of the prosecution and what their aggravating factors will be.

Prepare direct examination questions for the defendant

  • Questions should help describe the event and explain the circumstances or reasons for the behavior surrounding the offense.
  • Be clear and logical, so the jury will remember.
  • Use open-ended questions. You want to let the witness testify.
  • Listen to answers carefully and let the witness explain.
  • Make sure to emphasize any previous punishment the defendant may have received.
  • Know the answer before you ask the question. You should have reviewed and discussed the questions with your client prior to the hearing.

Ideas for direct examination questions:

  • Questions regarding background and strengths of the defendant.

    What school do you attend?
    
Who do you live with?
    
What other activities do you participate in?

  • Questions concerning the offense to help the jury understand the event.

     Why were you there?
    
Who else was present?
    
What happened next?

Previous punishment and important factors:

     What consequences have you suffered as a result of this offense?
    
What have you learned from this experience?
    
Have you been grounded?
    
Did you pay restitution?
    
Are you sorry?

Anticipate on questions for redirect

  • Redirect should clarify the defendant's story by clearing up issues raised by the prosecutor on cross-examination.
  • Compose a few of questions to handle the negative aspects of your case.

Talk to the defendant about his/her statement

  • This is an opportunity for the defendant to make any last comments to the jury. This is often the deciding moment in a juror’s mind.
  • Walk your client through their statement and remind them their attitude and how they present themselves to the jury will probably impact their sentence. They should not chew gum, swing in the witness chair or do anything that may damage their credibility. Eye contact is very important.

Prepare a sentencing recommendation

  • You and the defendant should agree upon a recommendation.
  • Include reasons/justification behind the recommendation. Explain why the defendant deserves the recommended sentence. 

Prepare a closing statement

  • Highlight mitigating factors and previous punishments.
  • Summarize facts and favorable evidence that helps your client.
  • Rebuke what the prosecution might say.
  • Be creative and persuasive.
  • Use eye contact.
  • Consider what the other side might say.
  • Use rhetorical questions.
  • Include a recommended sentence.

Download PDF(PDF, 72KB)

Jury Member

Jury duty is a vital role in the American Criminal Justice System. Through the teamwork of a Judge and a Jury, we the people can practice the principles that this country relies on for justice. During this process, the Judge determines which law applies to the case, while the jury decides the facts of the case. A teen court jury member will listen to the facts of the case and then deliberate an appropriate sentence to include but not limited to community service and jury duty sessions. Thus, Jurors take on a critical role in the Criminal Justice System by being men and women who possess sound judgment, absolute honesty, and a complete sense of fairness for all defendants involved in the Judicial System.  

Download PDF(PDF, 40KB)

 

Schedule

  • Grand Opening of Teen Court – 08/29/2023 @ 0500 PM
  • Teen Court 09/12/2023 @ 0500 PM
  • Teen Court 09/26/2023 @ 0500 PM
  • Teen Court 10/10/2023 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 10/24/2023 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 11/07/2023 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 12/05/2023 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 01/16/2023 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 01/30/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 02/13/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 02/27/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 03/12/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 03/26/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 04/09/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court 04/23/2024 @ 05:00 PM
  • Teen Court Final Teen Court 05/05/2024 @ 05:00 PM

 

Apply

Apply Now

Contact Information

Lakewood Probation Division

445 S. Allison Parkway
Lakewood, CO 80226

Probation/Diversion Officer Caleb Mulvin
Teen Court Coordinator

calmul@lakewoodco.org

Direct: 303-987-7424