• Teen courts hearing cyberbullying cases

    Date: 03.07.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Teen courts or peer juries exist across the  country. See here for an explanation of a Teen Court’s function and jurisdiction. Generally, they are used for minor infractions and keep young offenders out of the criminal or juvenile justice system.

    In Illinois, the Park Ridge Peer Jury has been hearing cases involving cyberbullying. In December, 2010 two Emerson Middle School students were charged with harassment by electronic means. The 13 and 14 year old girls created a Facebook page using the name and photo of a classmate. It included offensive and derogatory statements.

    Emerson Middle School

    After 15 hours of investigation, the police identified the girls responsible for the page. About 80 people at the middle school had been sent “friend” invitations from the page.

    The girls are facing sentences of community service, fines and/or letters of apology to the victim. Oftentimes a teen jury is harsher on a fellow student than if the offender appeared before a judge. However, appearing in Teen Court is considered a diversion from the criminal justice system and doesn’t result in a record for the teen.

    Read here about teen courts in Los Angeles and their new effort to address bullying, bias and hate crimes.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Fri, 15 Jul 2011 at 05:08

      Teen Courts and peer juries have really caught on the past decade. They provide a great experience for members of the jury who want to learn about the basics of the criminal justice system. They provide a great learning / maturing experience for the accused.

    • Vicki
      Tue, 02 Aug 2011 at 03:16

      Teen courts can be a huge plus for kids. It will teach them about the court system as well as teach them about consequences for actions.

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