Youth Peer Court Seeks Student Participants|
Volunteer as a juror, prosecutor, defense attorney or bailiff
- Learn about the law and legal concepts
- Earn volunteer hours for college applications
- Be part of something positive in the community
Download the Youth Peer Court application
if you're interested
in participating as a Court Officer (attorney, bailiff, court recorder, court clerk) or as a
What is Youth Peer Court?
Peer Court is a diversion program or, simply put, a chance for first time young
offenders to avoid the serious implications associated with formal entry into the criminal justice system.
When the juvenile is arrested, an officer may offer the offender an option to enter the Peer Court system,
instead of the Juvenile Justice system. With parental approval, the date for hearing is set. In court,
the infraction is described, the offender's student attorney may bring up extenuating circumstances,
and a jury of the offender's peers (other students and former peer court offenders) will assess the
sentence which may include restitution, community service, and service as a juror. Once the sentence
has been completed, all record of the infraction is destroyed. Students who fail to comply with
sentencing are referred to the Juvenile Courts for prosecution.
The Peer Court's ultimate objective is to discourage repeat offenses... and by its example as a model
for understanding justice and law, to prevent more first time offenses as well.
Looking for adult volunteers to assist one or two nights per month to support kids in the
Please contact contact Lauren
Gysel, Youth Services Program Specialist, 503-718-2578 if you would like to volunteer!
In order to be eligible for consideration in Peer Court, the following
conditions must be met:
What cases are heard in Peer Court:
- Offender is 12 to 17 years old
- First time offender
- Admission of guilt regarding the offense
- Consent by both offender and parent/guardian
- Misdemeanor or violation committed in the Tigard area
How Peer Court Works
- Minor in possession of marijuana
- Minor in possession of tobacco
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Criminal trespass
- Minor graffiti (Criminal Mischief III)
- Minor traffic violations under age 16
- Reckless burning
When an offender is contacted by a police officer, they will be given the option of having
their case heard and determined in the Peer Court System.
An appearance date is scheduled and the offender appears, with a parent or guardian, to have the case heard.
The presiding Judge is often a local attorney who will ensure that all legal requirements are met. Students
act as peer attorneys to present the circumstances of the case. A jury composed of student volunteers and
former offenders will decide the appropriate sentence in the case.
Sentencing will typically involve community service, restitution when appropriate, and will always include future
service as a peer court juror. At any point during the process an offender who misses a court date or fails to
carry out sentencing is automatically turned over to the juvenile courts for prosecution. The opportunity here
not only allows the offender a "second chance" in avoiding the system, but once sentence is successfully
completed, all record of the offense is removed from the students legal record. In effect, the offender
has an opportunity not only to make it right, but to "erase" the offense entirely from the public record.
Benefits of Peer Court
Peer Court gives:
- The youth who has made an error in judgment, the opportunity to make up for the
offense, repayment instead of punishment, and to clear their public record.
- All students involved — offenders, attorneys and jury members — with an
understanding of respect for our system of law and justice.
- Attorneys and community members the opportunity to support kids in their
schools as well as the chance to help teach lessons that every American should know.
- A way to alert students to the importance of accepting responsibility, not
only because it's the right thing, but because it's the surest path to justice,
forgiveness, and earning respect.
The following sanctions are possible:
- Community Service hours shall consist of 0-40 hours
- Maximum number of words given for essay: 1000.
- Maximum number of words given for letters of apology: 400.
- Restitution must either be directly related to monetary items listed in
the police report, or include two written appraisals for replacement of damaged
property presented at the hearing. Restitution will not exceed $50.00.
- All defendants must sit as a juror at least once.
- A class or workshop.
Youth Peer Court...
what's it all about?
How Peer Court Works
Benefits of Peer Court
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lauren
, Youth Services Program Specialist, 503-718-2578.
Tigard Peer Court has been in effect since January 1997 and hears approximately
100 cases each year. Our re-offend rate is only 1%... which shows our program is