New Teen Court Volunteers To Be Sworn In at Samford Thursday
Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-08-24
About 70 area students will be sworn in as Teen Court volunteers during a ceremony at Samford University Thursday, Aug. 25. Jefferson County family court judge Alan Summers will perform the swearing-in during the 6 p.m. program in Reid Chapel.
The volunteers completed a two-day training period that prepared them to serve as attorneys, jurors, bailiffs and clerks in the Teen Court program sponsored by the Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education (ACLCE). They represent middle schools, high schools and home school programs throughout Jefferson County.
ACLCE, housed at Samford’s Cumberland School of Law, is dedicated to educating young citizens about law and government through its Teen Court and Street Law programs.
Teen Court, which operates in Birmingham and Bessemer, is a division of Jefferson County Family Court. It allows juvenile offenders who are charged with non-violent misdemeanor crimes to be represented and prosecuted by teen attorneys before a jury of their peers. Cumberland professors and law students assist the teen litigators in preparing their cases.
The offenders as well as the Teen Court members learn about the laws that were broken, the consequences of the offense, and how due process is observed through court procedure, according to ACLCE interim director Kerri Williamson.
Teen Court volunteers must be in grades 8 through 12 and in good academic standing. Selection criteria include teacher recommendation and interview.
About 200 volunteers, including 50 adults, assist with Teen Court. The program is supported by Jefferson County Family Court, Junior League of Birmingham, Bessemer Junior Service League,
Bessemer Bar Association and private donors.
ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.