LAW 2707 - Nassau County District Attorney Youth Court Externship
The past two decades have seen a rise of a new alternative in juvenile justice, a diversion program called Youth Courts. Youth Court (sometimes called Teen Court) allows juveniles charged with delinquent acts to avoid the traditional court process and, instead, be judged by their peers; a group made up of volunteers and former juvenile respondents. In this course, we will examine how this new alternative program fits within the framework of the juvenile justice system. We will explore the principles of restorative justice, the role of Youth Court in the justice system and we will develop skills to help Youth Court advocates present a case and reach a disposition that is appropriate and constructive for the youth involved.
Externs are supervised by members of the District Attorney’s Office at all times. Law students in the Youth Court Externship will help train and supervise high school student advocates who represent juvenile respondents in local youth court hearings. Charges against the respondents range from petit larceny and graffiti to non-violent felony offenses. Externs also work alongside the advocates to help prepare for hearings by interviewing clients, developing case theory, and drafting direct examinations, cross examinations, and opening statements. At the weekly hearings, externs advise the advocates on evidentiary procedure, introduction of documentary evidence, objections, and closing arguments. Externs will also assist the jury members in their deliberations and ensure that all sentences follow the youth court sentencing guidelines and are appropriate and constructive.
Working under a student practice order, externs will also appear on the record for Youth Court cases in the Adolescent Diversion Part in Nassau County District Court. While on the record, students will report on the progress the Youth Court respondents have made with the program. Most appearances will require the law students to request the dismissal of cases when the respondents have successfully completed the program. Other appearances will require the law students to request sanctions when respondents have failed to cooperate with the program.
The externs will screen cases and interview the relevant parties to determine eligibility. These intake interviews will take place at the Nassau County Department of Probation, Family Division and the Adolescent Diversion Part in the Nassau County District Court.
Click here for Fall 2018 course offering(s).
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