Shasta County Youth/Peer Court uses adult judges from the
area who volunteer their time, professional adult attorneys who mentor our youth attorneys, and a jury of the youth offender’s
The Youth/Peer Court does not
determine guilt, since one of the requirements to appear in front of our court is a confession of guilt. This is why our offenders
are not called defendants but respondents. The jury’s job, therefore, is to assign a disposition
that will help both the community and the respondent. The types of offenses that appear in our court are theft, vandalism,
battery, assault, drug and alcohol use, cyber crimes, and school based offences.
Respondents are referred to the Youth /Peer Court through the Shasta County Probation’s
Juvenile Assessment Center and by the School Resources Officers or Administrative Officials of the various high school and
junior high campuses in our area.
range of sentencing options includes: apologies, essays, counseling, juvenile hall work days, community
service, jury service and restitution and educational classes including: (Anger Management, Victim Awareness, the Coroner’s
Tour, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs class, the CARE program, and the Youth Educational Shoplifting program).
Youth who reoffend while in the program or who do not complete
their dispositions in an appropriate amount of time are referred back to the Juvenile Assessment Center to be processed through
the juvenile justice system for their original crime.
Attorney Trials and Master Juries
We have two types of court trials: attorney trials and master juries. During
an attorney trial the respondent is appointed a pair of youth defense attorneys and a pair of prosecution attorneys is also
appointed to the case. Both sets of attorneys are given copies of the police report, copies of any pertinent
evidence, access to witnesses, and the advice of an adult attorney who will guide them through the court process.
The defense attorneys are also given access to the respondent who they meet with in order to discuss the case.
Each set of attorneys is responsible for opening statements, closing arguments, and the questioning of the respondent
and any witnesses. They are allowed to make objections and enter into evidence any relevant materials.
In the end though, the attorneys hand the case over to the jury to decide.
During Master Jury trials the jurors are the stars. The jurors read the
police reports, ask both prepared and spontaneous questions of the respondent and make the final decisions about sentencing.
All court trials are open to the public. We
ask only that attendees keep the names and details of what they hear in court confidential.
We also encourage you to call or
email our office if you have teens at home who would like to volunteer.