Youth Peer Court Seeks Student Participants|
Volunteer as a juror, prosecutor or defense attorney
- Learn about the law and legal concepts
- Earn volunteer hours for school or college applications
- Be part of something positive in the community
Download the Youth Peer Court application
if you're interested
in participating as a Juror or Youth Attorney.
Peer Court typically meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month from 4 to 6 p.m. Please contact
, Youth Services Program Specialist, 503-718-2578 if you would like to volunteer!
What is Youth Peer Court?
Peer Court, also known as youth or teen court, is an alternative approach to the traditional juvenile justice system. It is a youth run court for first time juvenile offenders who have committed misdemeanors or violations. A Youth who has been charged with an offense, and admitted guilt, has the opportunity to be sentenced by a jury of their peers.
A Judge, who is often a local attorney, supervises the court hearings. Volunteer youth have the opportunity to play a
variety of roles, such as defense attorney, prosecuting attorney or juror. Peer court is youth-focused, and is designed
and operated to empower youth.
In order to be eligible for consideration in Tigard Youth Peer Court, the following conditions must be met:
What cases are heard in Peer Court:
- Offender is 12 to 17 years old and a resident of Washington County
- The youth is a first time offender
- The youth admits guilt regarding the offense
- Both the youth and their parent/guardian agree to participate
- The misdemeanor or violation was committed in the Tigard area
How Peer Court Works
- Criminal Mischief II and III
- Criminal Trespass II
- Theft II and III
- Minor in Possession of Marijuana (less than 1 oz.)
- Minor in Possession of Tobacco
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Curfew Violation
- Offensive Littering
And many more…
When an offender is contacted by a police officer, if their case meets certain criteria,
they may be given the opportunity to have their case heard in Peer Court. An appearance date is scheduled, and
the offender appears with a parent or guardian to have the case heard. The presiding Judge, who is often a
local attorney, who will ensure that all legal requirements are met. In some cases, students may act as youth
attorneys to present the circumstances of the case and make sentencing recommendations. A jury composed of
student volunteers and former offenders decide the appropriate sentence in the case.
Sentencing typically involves: community service, restitution, apologies, essays, and will always include future service
as a peer court juror. If a youth offender misses a court date or fails to complete their sentence, they are referred
to the juvenile court for prosecution. The opportunity here not only allows the offender a "second chance"
in avoiding the system. Six months after the sentence is successfully completed, if no new charges are pending,
the youth may apply for record expungement. In effect, the offender has an opportunity not only to make it right,
but to "erase" the offense from the public record.
The following sanctions are possible:
Benefits of Peer Court
- Community Service hours: 0-40 hours
- Maximum number of words given for essay: 1000.
- Maximum number of words given for letters of apology: 400.
- Restitution must be directly related to monetary items listed in
the police report. Restitution will not exceed $50.00.
- All defendants must complete one day of Peer Court jury duty.
- A class or workshop.
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 our system of law.
- Attorneys and community members are provided 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.
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