Teen Bullies Get Questioned And Judged By Their Peers
Teen courts have operated in Los Angeles County for over the last 20 years. In these specialized courts, trained teenagers question, determine guilt and ultimately sentence fellow teenagers charged with crimes.
Faced with the reality that many youths charged with relatively minor offenses can often avoid the criminal justice system and becoming repeat offenders if worked with at an early age, Judge David Wesley helped develop the program to what it is today. Thus, the teen courts typically deal with teenage first-time offenders charged with such crimes as petty theft, vandalism, bullying, etc, and are referred by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office or through the LA County Probation Department. It is estimated that less than 5% of those offenders tried in teen court repeat their crimes.
A new offshoot of the Teen Court program is now starting to address incidents of bullying and hate crimes in an attempt to curb this behavior before it becomes normal.
The teens that serve on the court are allowed to ask questions of the accused and are trained about what questions to ask, the elements of the crimes and other topics to assist them to come to an educated decision.
Having served on a teen court many years ago, Attorney Ross Erlich realizes the value and importance that this program can have on both the person charged with a crime and the community as a whole. Not only does the person charged with a crime get to realize the consequences of their actions and how it can affect families and friends, the community benefits from the personalized treatment and reduction of repeat offenders.
If you or someone you know has been charged with vandalism, petty-theft, battery or any other crime in the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, Beverly Hills or near the Airport Court, contact Attorney Ross Erlich for a free one-on-one consultation at (818) 783-5700.