Family Law

-Domestic Violence

-Juvenile Court
  -Drug Court
  -Dependency Info
  -Dependency Court
  -Delinquency Court
  -Guardianship
  -Conservatorship
  -Peer Court


-Marriage
  -Application for a
   Confidential Marriage

  -Application for a
   Public Marriage


-Dissolution

  -Custody and Visitation
    -Family Law Mediator
  -Support
    -Family Law Facilitator





Peer Court

> What is Peer Court
> Sentencing Options  
> How Does Peer Court Work?
> Who Benefits

WHAT IS PEER COURT?

The Supervising Juvenile Court Judge in cooperation with the Superintendent of Schools of Nevada County, the Probation Department, District Attorney, Public Defender, members of the Juvenile Justice/Delinquency Prevention Commission and the local bar association has established a county wide Peer Court. The goal of Peer Court is to reduce juvenile crime by keeping first-time offenders from committing future crimes and deterring non-offenders from criminal conduct.

Peer Court accomplishes its goals in two ways:

  1. First, the program provides certain first-time juvenile offenders, charged with certain infractions and misdemeanor crimes, with an opportunity to participate in a diversionary program. The juveniles are given the option to avoid the juvenile justice system and instead, to be sentenced by a jury of their peers. Students learn about the rights and responsibilities of individuals in our legal system so that they make more informed choices in the way they conduct their personal lives.
  2. Students from the eighth grade through high school are introduced to the criminal justice system by participating in the sentencing hearing. They will be exposed to the consequences of unlawful conduct. In addition, students participate in a series of classes designed to educate teens about the criminal justice system and to discourage them from engaging in delinquent behavior in the future.

HOW DOES PEER COURT WORK?

Peer Court is held in Department 3 (three) of the Nevada County Superior Court, 201 Church Street, Nevada City. Peer Court is held in the evenings, the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Each Peer Court consists of a two-hour session during which one to four separate sentencing hearings are held.

Youth selected from participating school districts perform the roles of prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, bailiff, clerk, and jurors. Real attorneys act as mentors to the youth in the roles of prosecutor and defense attorney.

Juvenile offenders in Peer Court must admit committing the offense and sign a contract stating that they agree to be sentenced by the Peer Court jury. Additionally, a parent or guardian must give consent and agree to be present at the sentencing hearing.

Juvenile offenders must sign a contract pledging to complete the Peer Court sentence and must check frequently with their Case Manager, an adult who provides guidance and encourages the defendant to complete the Peer Court sentence.

If the offender successfully completes the Peer Court sentence, then the Peer Court Coordinator will forward the contract to local law enforcement and the offender will have avoided a juvenile court record. However, if the offender fails to complete the contract as outlined, the Police Department notifies the case manager who may reinstate formal juvenile proceedings against him or her, which may result in a juvenile record.

SENTENCING OPTIONS

  • WRITING ASSIGNMENT (S)
    • Letter of Apology (to victim(s) and parents)
    • Topic Essay
    • Research Paper
  • WORKSHOPS
    • Shoplifting Counseling, Anger Management, Drug & Alcohol Awareness, School Success, Juvenile Delinquency, MADD, Victim Impact Panel.
  • ALTERNATIVES
    • Counseling
    • Graffiti Clean-up
    • Fine/Restitution to Victim
    • Community Service
    • Correctional Facility Tour
    • Drug Testing
    • Imposed Curfew
    • Dispute Resolution
    • Home Restriction
    • Chores in the Home
    • Attend Criminal Trial
    • Presentation to Class/Youth Group
    • Tutor/mentor a Grade School Child
    • Volunteer at School
    • Ride along with law enforcement
    • Jury may devise other sentence requirements

WHO BENEFITS?

The Community

Reduce occurrence of repeat offenders; Deter non-offenders from engaging in criminal conduct; Utilize the energy and creativity of youth to benefit the community; Educate youth on adult civic responsibility; Hold young offenders accountable to their victims and the community

The Students

Provide youth with hands-on experience in the judicial system; Promote awareness among youth of the dangers of criminal activity; Instill in youth a sense of connection and responsibility to the community; Expose high school students to the consequences of unlawful conduct.

The Juvenile Offender

Avoid a juvenile record; Develop responsibility and accountability for one's actions; Early intervention to prevent a potential pattern of criminal behavior.