Police report of non-
violent divertible offense
Prosecutor's Office agrees
case eligible for diversion
Respondent and parents
meet with Youth Coordinator
and opt in to Youth Court
Youth Coordinator sets
hearing and notifies
respondent and volunteers
Volunteer attorney and Youth
Defense Advocate meet with
respondent and parents
Volunteer attorneys and pros-
ecution and defense advocates
prepare for court (separately)
Court session held. Prosecution
and defense advocates present
case and recommendations
Jury deliberates and
Respondent works with
parole officer to
Respondent appears at
subsequent court session
for complete ceremony
Failure to appear or follow
Court's ruling results in case
being returned to Prosecutor's
Office for appropriate action
studies that attempted to assess statistical significance of recidivism, four
found statistical significance favoring
teen courts, one found statistical significance favoring traditional justice,
and 10 produced null results, primarily because too many factors differ
between various court models and the
various study methodologies.
Completion hearings finalize a
respondent’s appearance before the
court. Such completion hearings provide a sense of closure to both the respondents and the participants. Roger
Ledbetter, a City of Bellevue probation
officer who works with the respondents to help fulfill their sentence,
often informs the court that the
respondent has gained skills and confidence through community service
and is continuing to volunteer beyond
the initial requirement.
The judge thanks the jurors for
their time and valuable service, thanks
the advocates for their work, and finally dismisses the court. The bailiff
calls, “All rise!” and the judge leaves
After each session, Stephens walks
to the front of the court to address
the participants and observers in the
council chambers. She thanks the jury
and the officers of the court for their
hard work and then she leads a question and answer period to debrief the
participants on the court case. With all
the questions answered, she reminds
everyone of their duty of confidentiality,
Bellevue Youth Court
and tells the participants they can sign
up for the role they want in the next
month’s court session or any other activities or training. NWL
a law firm that
on how chang-
and the law
intersect. As a volunteer attorney,
Cherry has had the opportunity to
participate in six trials before the
BYC, and continues to be impressed
by the passion and hard work the
teens bring to the court. Cherry was
the King County Bar Association
Pro Bono attorney of the year in
2016 for his work with the Housing
Justice Project in Kent and the BYC.
He can be reached at mikech@
1. The names of respondents have been
2. Washington State Association of Youth
Courts (WSAYC), “Washington State Association of Youth Courts — Who We Are,”
html (last visited Aug. 6, 2016).
3. S.B. ESB 5692, 2002 Leg., 57th Sess. (Wa.
2002), Final Bill Report available at http://
4. Wash. Rev. Code §§ 13. 40.580—460, §
13. 40.070, available at http://app.leg.
5. Wash. Rev. Code § 4. 24.230, available at
cite= 4. 24.230.
6. Judge Suzanne Parisien follows retired
judges Harry McCarthy and Carol Schapi-ra who served as the King County Superior Court representatives to the Bellevue
Youth Court from 2007-15.
7. “Youth Court Proposal,” City of Bellevue
King County, June 2006, on file with author.
8. Court statistics provided by Helena Stephens, manager, Family Youth & Teen Services Division, City of Bellevue, and are on
file with her office.
9. Jeffery A. Butts, Janeen Buck, Mark B.
Coggeshall, "The Impact of Teen Court
on Young Offenders," Urban Institute, 27
(2002) available at http://www.urban.org/
on-Young-Offenders.PDF (last visited
Aug. 6, 2016).
10. Lauren N. Gase, Taylor Schooley, Amelia DeFosset, Michael A. Stoll, and Tony
Kuo, The Impact of Teen Courts on Youth
Outcomes: A Systemic Review, Adolescent
Research Review, Volume 1, Number 1,
51-67 (2016), http://link.springer.com/
visited August 6,2016).