Employee Status Updated: 9/22/2018 12:00 AM Normal
Office Status: Normal
Employee Information
    Teen Court
  
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Procedures

Arrival at the Courthouse

All jurors and respondents should arrive at the St. Mary’s County District Courthouse no later than 5:30 PM, entering through the front doors of the Carter Building. Upon entry everyone is required to go through the security checkpoint. Please follow the instructions of the officer on the security checking procedures. Remember that radios, recording devices, cameras, weapons, and any other electronic devices are strictly prohibited. For Teen Court, a cell phone may be brought into the Courthouse to coordinate pickup after the session but MUST be turned off upon entering and kept off until dismissal.

Respondents

After passing through the security checkpoint, an adult volunteer will greet all respondents and their parents/guardians. Utilizing the court docket, the adult volunteer records their presence and directs them to the assigned courtroom’s waiting area. If an adult volunteer is not available at the time of arrival, please proceed up the stairs and check-in with the Teen Court Coordinator for further instructions.

Jurors

After passing through court security, all jurors are to proceed directly to the Russell Room on the second floor. If the Russell room is not available, jurors are to proceed through the double glass doors on the left and quietly have a seat in the area outside of the courtrooms. Bathrooms are located in the hallway to the right of the elevators. Note: There are to be NO food or drinks inside the glass double doors. There is to be NO loitering in the halls, elevators, snack rooms, or entering any other areas of the Courthouse under any circumstances. The vending machine areas are all off limits at all times. Jurors are to immediately return to the designated Jury Waiting Area.

The Adult Volunteer assigned to this area will ensure that upon entering the room all volunteers (“mandatory” participants, jurors and attorneys) complete all the requested information on the session sign-in sheet. Any completed sanctions should be placed in the purple folder which will be picked up by the Coordinator. Youth volunteers should then quietly take a seat in the designated Jury Waiting Area and await the beginning of the orientation.

Orientation/Assignment to Jury Panels

All jurors should be seated in the Jury Waiting Area by 5:30 PM. No later than 5:40 PM an Adult Volunteer will welcome the jurors and provide a brief juror orientation to the Teen Court program. The orientation will include the purpose of the St. Mary’s County Teen Court, the responsibilities of the Teen Court juror, the courtroom procedures for the petit and grand jury formats (based on the docket), conduct guidelines, and any administrative guidance. At the conclusion of the orientation, the sign-in roster will be used to assign jurors to different jury panels (A, B, C, etc.). Assignments will be made based on the nature of the cases on the docket. For example, cases involving a middle school student should consist of middle school would consist of middle school aged jurors. Requests to be seated on the same jury with an acquaintance will not be honored unless under special circumstances approved in advance. Each juror’s name will be called out and when acknowledged, advised of the assigned jury panel. Any jurors arriving late or in excess of the maximum 12 required for a panel, will be assigned to a jury panel as an “alternate juror” and will be substituted for an assigned juror if there is a recognition issue of the respondent. Alternate jurors will be given an opportunity to sit on the jury panel by switching with an assigned juror for subsequent cases. The Teen Court Jury Monitor can make any necessary changes once in the courtroom. Each juror should remember the jury panel to which they have been assigned. The staff member will advise each assigned jury panel the nature of the cases on their docket and the jury format to be used. Any questions about the Teen Court procedures should be directed to the adult volunteer or the Teen Court Coordinator. Any last minute bathroom breaks should be made at this time since the cases will not be stopped for this purpose.

Relocation to Assigned Courtrooms

At 5:55 PM the jurors are advised that it was time to proceed to the courtroom. At this time all jurors should collect all their personal belongings to take with them. All gum, food, and drinks should be disposed of at this time since none are permitted in the courtroom. All hats are to be removed and remain off for the duration of the court session. All cell phones should be checked to ensure that they are turned completely off. The Adult Volunteer will announce the first jury panel to move to their courtroom and will direct them to the Adult Volunteer who will escort them to their courtroom and will serve as their Jury Monitor for the entire session. Jurors will quietly follow their designated Jury Monitor to the assigned courtroom, entering the first two rows of seats on the left side of the courtroom, starting with the seats in the front row and then the second row. All alternate jurors are to sit together in the back of the courtroom and are not to leave the courtroom under any circumstances unless specifically excused by the Judge or the Jury Monitor.

Once seated in the jury area jurors can place their personal items under their seat but out of the aisle. The Jury Monitor will hand out notepads, pens, and sanction sheets (if appropriate). If the grand jury format is to be used, a seating chart will be prepared for the Judge, clearly printing the juror's first name only in the box that corresponds with their seat. All items except the notepad and pen should be on the floor and not on any railing.

Opening the Teen Court Session

Once all jurors are ready for the session to begin, the Adult Volunteer will ask the bailiff to get all of the assigned respondents and their parents for that courtroom that are currently present. Once all the gallery observers are seated, respondents along with their Teen Court attorneys (if applicable) at the defense table, parents/guardians in the right front rows of the courtroom gallery, and the courtroom is ready, the bailiff will advise the judge. The bailiff will return to the courtroom and announce: “All rise, the St. Mary’s County Teen Court is now in session, the Honorable Community Judge <Name> presiding”. If not already seated, the judge will enter, take the bench and ask everyone to be seated. After a brief introduction the judge will administer the Oath of Confidentiality to everyone present. The judge will direct that the bailiff to escort all respondents and their parents/guardians back to the waiting room except for the participants of the case to be heard. The judge will ask the jury if any member of the jury recognizes the respondent. If any juror knows or recognizes the respondent, an alternate will take his/her place. Similarly the respondent will be asked if they recognize or know any member of the jury. If so, the judge will determine if an alternate juror is to take his/her place. Once the jury has been selected, the judge will ask the bailiff to administer the Jury Oath. The judge will then direct the jury on their responsibilities as jurors.

What happens next depends on the court format being used for the case under consideration. There are two formats utilized by the Teen Court: Petit Jury and Grand Jury. The Petit Jury format involves the use of Teen Court attorneys as the Prosecutor and Defense Counsel. The Prosecutor will be seated at the table to the right of the Judge as you look from the gallery. The Defense Counsel and Respondent will be seated at the table to the left. In the Grand Jury format there will be no Teen Court attorneys present.

Important note

It is incumbent on each and every juror to give their full time and attention to the respondent’s responses to questions from either their Teen Court attorneys or from the Teen Court jury. The Adult Volunteer will be alert for any juror daydreaming, dozing off, doodling, laughing, smirking, making facial expressions, or otherwise not paying attention to the case being heard because such behavior is unfair to the teen respondent and and will not be tolerated, resulting in their immediate removal from the jury. It is also important for the jurors to remember that to participate in the Teen Court Program the respondent acknowledges their involvement (guilt) to the charges. The jurors are NOT determining whether they are guilty or not, only the appropriate disposition (sentence) for their actions.

Grand Jury Procedures

At the direction of the Judge, the bailiff will announce the case and ask the respondent to take the witness stand to be sworn in by the bailiff. The bailiff will administer the oath and will ask the respondent to take their seat and state their name, age, and the school they attend. The Judge will provide a general overview of the offense. The Judge will then ask the jury to proceed with their questions. Jurors should raise their hand and wait to be recognized by the Judge. Once recognized, the juror can ask their question directly of the respondent. At the completion of the juror questioning the Judge will ask the respondent if they would like to address the jury. After the respondent has completed their remarks, the Judge will ask the respondent to leave the witness stand to return to the defense table. The Judge will call any victim to the stand or will read any impact statement. The Judge will then address the jury and explain any elements of the law that would be applicable to the case under consideration. The Judge will then appoint a foreperson from the jury. Since deliberations are to take place in the courtroom, the judge will ask the bailiff to escort the respondent, parents, and all gallery observers to the waiting area. The bailiff will escort everyone out of the courtroom except the Judge, jury, bailiff, and Jury Monitor. Each juror will be provided with a Teen Court sanction guideline sheet. The foreperson will complete the jury disposition form with the respondent’s name and case number provided by the Jury Monitor. The Jury Monitor will identify the category (severity) of the offense. The foreperson will lead the discussion of each of the sanctions identified on the disposition form, using the sanction guideline for the category level of the offense. The sanction guideline identifies the minimum and maximum sanction levels for each category. Sanctions do not have to be limited to only sanctions from the guidelines but can be anything reasonable that the jury feels would be appropriate for that particular respondent. For a sanction to be imposed, an affirmative vote is required by the total number of jurors minus 2. Any questions or issues should be directed to the Jury Monitor who will answer the question or communicate with the Judge as necessary. Once the jury panel has come to agreement on all the sanctions to be imposed, the foreperson will read out loud all the sanctions agreed upon and ask the jury if they agree with all of the sanctions. Once completed, the foreperson will sign the jury disposition form in the spot indicated. Jurors should place everything back on the floor underneath their seat. When the Judge and jury are ready, the bailiff will return the respondent, parents, and gallery observers to the courtroom. The Judge will call the court back to order.

Petit Jury Procedures

The Judge will ask the bailiff to announce the case and will ask the Prosecution and Defense if they are prepared to proceed. The Judge will then ask each to present their opening remarks. After the opening remarks, the Judge will ask the respondent to take the witness stand to be sworn in by the bailiff. The bailiff will administer the oath and will ask the respondent to take their seat and state their name, age, and what school they attend. At this point the Defense and Prosecution will take turns asking questions of the respondent about the incident and their involvement. Once each side has completed their questioning and follow-up questions, the Judge will ask the respondent if they would like to address the jury. After the respondent has completed their remarks, the Judge will direct the respondent to return to the defense table and be seated. The Prosecution and Defense attorneys will then address the jury to provide their closing remarks which will be their summary of the case and their recommendations for a disposition. After both attorneys have finished their closing remarks, the Judge call any victim to the stand or will read any victim impact statement. The Judge will then address the jury and explain any elements of the law that would be applicable to the case under consideration. The Judge will then appoint a foreperson from the jury. The judge will ask the bailiff to escort the respondent, parents, and all gallery observers to the waiting area. The bailiff will escort everyone out of the courtroom except the Judge, jury, bailiff, and Jury Monitor. The jury will conduct deliberations in the courtroom. Each juror will be provided with a Teen Court sanction guideline sheet. The foreperson will complete the jury disposition form with the respondent’s name and case number provided by the Jury Monitor. The Jury Monitor will identify the category (severity) of the offense. The foreperson will lead the discussion of each of the sanctions identified on the disposition form, using the sanction guideline for the category level of the offense. The sanction guideline identifies the minimum and maximum sanction levels for each category. Sanctions do not have to be limited to only from the guideline sanctions but can be anything reasonable that the jury feels would be appropriate for that particular respondent. For a sanction to be imposed, an affirmative vote is required by the total number of jurors minus 2. Any questions or issues should be directed to the Jury Monitor who will answer the question or communicate with the Judge as necessary. Once the jury panel has come to agreement on all the sanctions to be imposed, the foreperson will read out loud all the sanctions agreed upon and ask the jury if they agree with all of the sanctions. Once completed, the foreperson will sign the jury disposition form in the spot indicated. Jurors should place everything back on the floor underneath their seat. When the Judge and jury are ready, the bailiff will return the respondent, parents, and gallery observers to the courtroom. The Judge will call the court back to order.

Post-Deliberation Procedures

In both formats, after calling the court back to order following jury deliberations, the Judge will ask the foreperson if the jury has reached a disposition. The foreperson will respond with “Yes, Your Honor” and hand the jury disposition form to the bailiff who will in turn hand it to the Judge. The Judge will review the disposition and will address the respondent, asking them to face the jury. The Judge will then read the disposition agreed upon by the jury and will ask the respondent if they understand the disposition. The Judge will ask the respondent’s parent(s) to join the respondent at the defense table. The Judge will ask some questions of the parent(s) concerning the respondent and then invite them to be seated. The Judge will directly address the respondent to discuss the various implications of their actions. Upon completion of the Judge’s comments the Judge will hand the signed jury disposition form to the bailiff who will escort the respondent and their parent(s) to the Teen Court Coordinator’s office for administrative processing. The jury, Judge, and bailiff will prepare themselves and the courtroom for the next case. The bailiff will bring in the next respondent and their parents/guardians and the process will repeat until all cases on the docket have been heard.

Dismissal

Once all of the cases designated for that courtroom have been heard, the jurors are to remain in their seats, either in the jury area or the gallery, until they have been dismissed by the Judge or the Teen Court staff member. Jurors will be reminded that the proceedings are confidential and to make sure that they have turned in all of the materials they were given to use during the cases and have turned in all notes they took to the Teen Court Staff member for proper disposal. Before leaving, all jurors should make sure that they have all their belongings and that any trash around their seats has been picked up and properly disposed of. If any of the jurors have attendance verification documents that require signature, the Jury Monitor will take the necessary action. Jurors are to not loiter in the halls since other courtrooms may still be in session. Dismissed jurors will proceed directly to the courthouse front door and promptly exit. A Teen Court staff member will remain until everyone has been picked up.


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