Every semester, Judge Carter hosts Judge Carter's Teen Court. Our program draws student participants from HISD and AldineISD, plus administrators, parents, and volunteers from all over Harris County. This extraordinary group comes together to adjudicate real cases involving real teens while learning about the justice system in the process.
Judge Carter's Teen Court works like this:
First, we start with a real teen's real case, pending in Harris County Justice of the Peace - Precinct 1, Place 1. This teen volunteers their case to be adjudicated by teen peers in the community. The peers take on the role of prosecution, defense, jury and even bailiff and, with the guidance of legal professionals, learn about these various legal careers while adjudicating this real case. The Teen Jury then deliberates and is responsible for returning a punishment. Punishment often comes in the form of further community service or other responsibility-building exercises.
Judge Carter's Teen Court is designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and the courtroom and provide insight into the workings of the judicial system. The hope is, through this program, the participants learn a little about the criminal justice system and about the legal careers operating in a courtroom setting. Most importantly, all the teen participants get to experience the Court in a constructive, positive way.
Keep an eye out for the next session of Judge Carter's Teen Court!