The purpose of the Teen Court program is to become accountable for one’s actions by understanding the impacts of choices on others, and being willing to make things right. Teen Court respondents work to repair the harm done by their crime through the Teen Court process. Teen Court is an alternative to Lone Tree Municipal Court.
A respondent must be eligible to participate in Teen Court. Eligibility criteria include (but are not limited to):
- You must own up and accept full responsibility for the incident.
- You cannot have prior or other open cases in Lone Tree and elsewhere.
- You must be 17 or younger when you obtain the offense.
The three goals of Teen Court are:
- develop new or existing skills/knowledge
- engage with the community positively
Teen Court is a voluntary program. Respondents and their family still go through Municipal Court if the respondent is not eligible or decides not to participate in Teen Court.
1. Court Date
Lone Tree Municipal Court sessions are held at the Lone Tree Civic Center: 8527 Lone Tree Parkway, Lone Tree, CO 80124. Mail is not accepted at this location, and staff is not present at this location during times court sessions are not taking place.
Your first appearance at court is an arraignment. An arraignment is when you are advised of your rights, the nature of the charge(s) against you, and where you may be eligible for Teen Court.
When you arrive at court, you and at least one parent will be required to sign in, read and sign a yellow Advisement of Rights form. Each defendant will meet with the City Attorney (prosecutor) before seeing the Judge. The City Attorney may offer. Teen Court as a voluntary alternative program to the traditional Municipal Court process.
If you choose Teen Court, you will be advised by the Judge of the process. The Judge will assess a $75 fee, and you will be responsible to contact the Teen Court Coordinator to schedule an intake within one week of the arraignment date.
2. Intake Interview
The intake interview is the first step of the program. It is an informational meeting for the respondent and their family to understand the program process and expectations. The intake interview is also to ensure the respondent is eligible to participate in the program.
The intake interview has three sections:
1. Interview: the Teen Court Coordinator asks the respondent what happened that brought them to the intake interview.
2. Explanation of the Program: this includes a detailed description of restorative justice and how it’s used in Teen Court, the Peer Panel hearing, timeline and expectations.
3. Paperwork: if the respondent is eligible and wants to participate, then there is paperwork to get started.
If a youth respondent and their family receives a Teen Court referral letter in the mail and would like more information about the program or to schedule an intake interview, please contact the Teen Court Coordinator via email or at 720-509-1265.
If a respondent is eligible and willing to participate in the Teen Court program, then a Peer Panel hearing will be scheduled at the intake.
3. Peer Panels
- Peer Panels are composed of trained teen volunteers and current respondents who participate on the Panel as part of their Teen Court requirements.
- Panel members conduct an extended interview with the respondent and their parents/legal guardian, which helps them create a meaningful set of consequences or sentence.
- Respondents and their parents/legal guardians have the opportunity to share what happened that brought them to Teen Court and what they think should be done to make things right.
- After the interviews, the panel members deliberate and come up with individualized and meaningful sentencing options, which are then presented to the respondent and their parents/legal guardians.
- The sentences are individualized– with different sets of volunteers on each panel and different respondents, it is rare for two respondents to have the same combination of sentencing requirements. The panel will decide on the sentence items based on what they think will be most appropriate to repair the harm and restore relationships.
- Peer Panelists operate with respect and all volunteers/respondents sign an Oath of Confidentiality.
4. Outtake Meeting
- After receiving the panel’s decision, the respondent has three months to complete the Teen Court requirements.
- The outtake meeting will also occur three months after the panel date and the meeting date/time is set directly after the Peer Panel decision.
- At least one parent and the respondent is required to attend the outtake meeting and this is where the Teen Court Coordinator collects all deliverables (community service signatures, projects, essays, letters of apology, etc.).
- Respondents participate in Teen Court for 6 or 9 months. The respondent cannot obtain another criminal offense during this time. Otherwise they may be referred back to Municipal Court for formal prosecution.
- Respondents have 3 months to complete their sentencing requirements after the Peer Panel.
- The respondent must complete an outtake appointment with the Teen Court Coordinator after the sentencing requirements are completed. The respondent presents on these items at the outtake. If a respondent does not complete their requirements, they may be referred back to Municipal Court for formal prosecution.
- The Teen Court fee is $75 and is due at the court date. Other fees may be included, such as class fees.
- Peer Panels are held on Monday evenings at the Lone Tree Civic Center: 8527 Lone Tree Pkwy, Lone Tree, CO 80124.
- A Parent/Legal Guardian must attend all Teen Court meetings with the respondent (intake, Peer Panel, and outtake).
- Sentencing requirements may include: community service, apology letters, Empowerment Workshops and other educational classes, shoplifting interview, essay, special projects, assessment with the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC), and others.
More information about the process and potential sentencing options are discussed at the intake meeting.