At Teen Court, the defendant has already admitted guilt. Thus, the job of the Teen Attorneys is not to prove that the defendant is guilty or innocent, but rather to explain the reasons why the defendant committed the offense. The Teen Attorneys present this information to the jury through opening statements, questioning, and closing arguments. Students participate as trained prosecuting and defense attorneys, clerk, bailiff, victim’s advocate, as well as jurors or juror instructors. Student participants are able to develop public speaking and critical thinking skills through participation in the various roles, and can also receive credit toward their high school community service requirement. They have the opportunity to broaden their participation in Teen Court from year to year by mastering each role and can become mentors for new students in the program. The experience is a valuable addition to a college or employment application and resume.
Teen Courts throughout New Mexico
Teen Attorney Retreat 2015
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