Teen Court Program

Teen Court Program Overview

Teen Court is a community-based, Court-operated intervention program designed to provide an alternative response from the juvenile justice system for the first-time misdemeanor offender. Teen Court adheres to the restorative justice theory, which is based on the premise of accountability to the victim and community, as well as adding an educational component. Teens, having admitted their involvement to various charges, receive their sentencing from other teens. Teen defendants in turn, serve as jurors, attorneys or bailiffs in the cases of other teens. This provides teens with the opportunity to impact other peers in a productive and positive way by imposing appropriate and fair dispositions (sentences). Teen Court holds juvenile offenders accountable and provides educational enlightenment for the youth into the juvenile justice system. It is with this information and knowledge that the youthful offender becomes better equipped to make better life choices, change negative behaviors and leads to the enhancement of public safety. Successful completion of this diversion process can result in the youth not having a formal court record.

Who Can Attend Teen Court?

  • Youth referred by a Juvenile Court Magistrate or by the Juvenile Intake/Diversion Department.
  • Youth charged with misdemeanor offenses, who are first-time offenders.
  • Youth between the ages of 11 and 17 at the time of the offense.
  • Youth who acknowledge/admit their involvement in the offense.
  • Youth who have parental or guardian consent.
  • Youth who can commit to participate in a 5-week program.

Are There Specific Rules for Teen Court?

  • No cell phones, MP3 players or IPods
  • No mini-skirts or shorts
  • No T-shirts with writing on them
  • No tobacco products

What Sentencing Outcomes are Available with Teen Court?

Sentences may involve any combination of the following:

  • An apology to a victim or parent.
  • Community service hours.
  • An essay on a topic determined by the jury.
  • A research paper regarding the law that was broken.
  • Maryhaven Drug and Alcohol Program.
  • Multiple on-line programs such as the YES program, 3rd Millennium Stoplifting, 3rd Millennium Alcohol-wise and 3rd Millennium Marijuana-101.
  • In addition to the jury sentence, the defendant is required to serve on the jury or in some other capacity in Teen Court for a 5-week period. Other elements included in a disposition may take up to 90 days to complete.

Who are the Teen Court Participants?

Teen Court is comprised of youth who would have been defendants in the traditional juvenile justice system. Teen Court hearings are conducted by teenagers with an adult program coordinator overseeing the process. Court contracted hearing officers, who are adults preside over the hearings.

What About Parent Involvement?

Parents must accompany their teen for the following:

  • The teen’s initial appearance with the Hearing Officer or meeting with the Diversion Counselor/Family Assessment Officer prior to the referral to Teen Court.
  • The parent/teen orientation.

Who is the Program Coordinator and Supervisor?

Nathan Caupp, Program Coordinator
Julie O’Reilly Troth, Deputy Director of Juvenile Programs and Services

Where is the Teen Court Program Located?

Franklin County Juvenile Court, Youth Education & Intervention Services
399 South Front Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215 

Article: Teen Courts-Do They Work and Why?

Teen Court Article

Hours of Operation:

8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Monday, Wednesday & Friday
11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday