Humboldt County Bar Association Donates $3,000 to Teen Court Program

This is a press release from Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods:

Humboldt County Bar Association President, Jason Eads, presented Sacha Marini, Director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods Teen Court program, with a $3,000 check donation at their court session on Thursday May 3rd. Year after year, the Humboldt County Bar Association consistently shows tremendous support of the Teen Court program through generous donations.

Additionally, many members of the Bar Association show their support of Teen Court by volunteering their time to serve as mentor attorneys. Teen Court recently welcomed Bar Association member, Nate Zwerdling, as a new mentor attorney. Interestingly enough, Nate used to volunteer with Teen Court back when he was a high school student. Nate shares his journey from student attorney to mentor attorney:

I recently walked back into Humboldt County’s Teen Court chambers for the first time in twelve years — this time as a mentor attorney.  While an Arcata High sophomore and junior in 2005-06, I volunteered in Teen Court as a teen attorney and juror.  Having the opportunity to participate in a real court of law as a teen was immensely rewarding and educational.  For the first time, I experienced basic trial protocol such as the varying duties of the prosecution and defense, the examination of witnesses, forming strong closing arguments, and the nuances of jury deliberation. I still remember the facts of some of the cases and the creative restorative justice sentences I helped render as a juror.

 

One guiding aspect of Teen Court still resonates with me to this day — the people who find themselves in the hands of a teen court jury are just that, real people, and deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and encouragement.  They are entitled to receive restorative justice sentences rather than punitive punishments.  As a practicing lawyer, I hold this lesson to heart every day and always value the underlying humanity in every case, whether civil or criminal.  I am excited to volunteer as an attorney mentor and perhaps inspire local high schoolers to explore careers in law.

 

The time and attention that these adult mentors offer is such a gift; it often inspires the teen volunteers to pursue a career in the legal field. And now we have a real life example!

Teen Courts have succeeded in hundreds of communities across the country because they offer an important educational opportunity for young people to learn about how the justice system works and put civics into practice. In presenting Teen Court with their donation, Bar Association Treasurer Neal Latt, also a mentor attorney with Teen Court, said “The Teen Court is not only performing front-line work in restorative justice for Humboldt County youth, but also serves as a critical vehicle to model and reinforce the important work of jury service among young people who will one day form the pools of our county”.

Teen Court is actively recruiting for new mentor attorneys! If you or someone you know is an attorney and interested, contact 707-444-0153 or hcteencourt@bgcredwoods.org.

Pictured left to right, Student volunteers Alex, Cody, Sophia, Kai, Alex, and Sky, Ray, Marcela; Sacha Marini, Teen Court Director; Bar Association members: Nate Zwerdling, Bar Association President Jason Eads, and Erin Rowe.

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One comment

  • Restorative justice sounds like a workable idea, especially for young people. But how is such determined when a specific victim can not be identified? For example a person who speeds through a parking lot but no one is injured or property is damaged. People are scared,made hesitant, etc but the real desire of justice is to stop the practice for sake the future incidents where injury is likely to happen. How can justice be served without being punitive at that point?

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