Participants in Allen’s Teen Court program will receive more in-depth legal training with the launch of Teen Court Academy.
The 8-month program kicked off in August with a 2-hour program overview. Teens will gather monthly for special training in opening statements, closing arguments, offering evidence and other topics.
“My ultimate plan is, by the time they hit their senior year, they’ll be putting on the black robe and be sitting as the judge while [the juvenile case manager] and I are there to make sure everything runs smoothly,” said Judge Gore.
Founded in 2000, Allen Teen Court helps teen defendants and volunteers understand the justice system. Juvenile defenders facing Class C misdemeanors may choose to handle their citations through participation in Teen Court. Cases are presented by volunteer Teen Court attorneys to a jury of the defendant’s peers; jury members assess a sentence of community service. In return, the defendant does not have to pay any fines and all charges are dismissed and removed from their permanent record.
In 2019, Allen Teen Court participants placed first runner-up in the Teen Court Association of Texas mock trial competition. The team of Allen sophomores was narrowly bested by a team of seniors from Georgetown.
“It was only our second year entering the contest, so we really have seen the fruits of our efforts in growing the program,” said Allen Court Administrator Jed Tamayo.