Youth Peer Court Responsibilities
The volunteer coordinator is responsible for setting up appointments with potential defendants, their parents, and the Youth Peer Court advisors. The volunteer coordinator oversees the program and offers suggestions for improvements to the court through its contact with the Youth Peer Court Advisory Board.
Advisors are adult supervisors who assist in the running of Youth Peer Court. Advisors work hand-in-hand with the volunteer coordinator to coordinate training and education as well as help meet all the needs of Youth Peer Court.
The Youth Peer Court judge is an adult volunteer working in the legal field who sits as judge pro tem, ruling on questions of law and making sure the court proceedings run smoothly.
Attorneys, Clerks, and Bailiffs
Youth Peer Court attorneys, clerks, and bailiffs are volunteers from 12 to 17 years of age. The criteria for a good attorney is a commitment to work and the ability to work with others. Also considered helpful, but not restrictive, are secondary qualifications such as GPA, extracurricular activities, and past experience. All volunteers must undergo training sessions on legal research and concepts. Prosecuting attorneys have the responsibility of attempting to secure the most severe punishment for defendants as possible, regardless of personal feelings. Likewise, defense attorneys have the responsibility of attempting to secure the most lenient sentence for their clients, regardless of personal feelings. All volunteers are expected to treat the court with respect in every way, which includes dressing appropriately, arriving on time, and being prepared for trial.
Youth Peer Court jurors are a combination of volunteers from 12 to 17 years of age and past defendants who are serving jury duty as a result of utilizing the Youth Peer Court program. Jurors are rotated by the volunteer coordinator to ensure fairness for the defendants. Jurors are expected to treat the court with respect in every way, deliberating in a manner that is fair to both the defendant and the People. A volunteer list will be compiled of middle school and high school students living within the city limits of Beaverton. Prospective jurors may expect to be called for jury assignment more than once.
Youth Peer Court defendants are expected to treat the court with respect including completing the sentence handed down by the jury. Also, defendants are responsible for attending a self-esteem workshop and serving as a juror in a future Youth Peer Court trial. There are two ways in which a defendant may possibly be worse off by choosing Youth Peer Court and both have to do with responsibility. If a defendant goes through the whole Youth Peer Court process, but fails to show up for trial the case will be referred to Juvenile Court if the defendant cannot show reasonable cause for the absence. In this situation, the defendant may face a more severe verdict than if s/he had initially chosen Juvenile Court, due to wasting the Youth Peer Court's resources. Likewise, if a defendant fails to complete a sentence and cannot show just cause, the case will be referred to Juvenile Court and a similar reprehension may be due. The volunteer coordinator and the Youth Peer Court advisors have the task of making sure the defendant completes his/her sentence.