110 1st Avenue
Ocala, FL 34601

Office: 352-401-6762
Fax: 352-401-8160

Angela DeSimone, Coordinator- 352-401-6762
Crystal Watkins, Manager- 352-401-6725

The Teen Court concept is based on the philosophy that youthful offenders will not continue to offend when a jury of their peers punishes them. The program is open to juvenile first-time, misdemeanor offenders. This program allows them to emerge with a clean record, presuming all conditions of their sentence have been completed within the guidelines provided. The jury, which is comprised of teens, does not decide the guilt or innocence of the offender but assesses constructive sentencing for the offender who has pleaded guilty. Marion County Teen Court has a Felony offense program which is limited to Felony property crimes.

How Teen Court Works

Teen Court is made up of volunteers from local middle and high schools. These volunteers serve as jurors, clerks, and attorneys; the only adults in the program are the Coordinator and Judges. Defendants are required to serve as jurors in subsequent proceedings. The program is sponsored by the local County Circuit Judiciary.

The defendant must be accompanied by his parent or legal guardian at the sanctioning hearing. The clerk swears in the defendant and administers the oath to the jurors to render a fair sentence based on the evidence presented. The defendant and the parents are the only witnesses. There is direct and cross examination of the defendant by both prosecuting and defense counsel. After closing arguments, the jury deliberates and agrees on sanctions for the defendant. Court is then reconvened and the sanctions are read.

Teen Court Procedural Synopsis

OFFENSE IS COMMITTED

A youth is charged with a law violation by law enforcement agencies.

REFERRED TO TEEN COURT

An initial determination is made by the State Attorney’s Office that the case appears to qualify for referral to Teen Court. The coordinator sets up a file for the case and an interview is scheduled for the minor and parent or legal guardian.

INTERVIEW

The Coordinator conducts an interview with the minor and his parents/guardians to explain the Teen Court program. The parties execute the participation agreement and waiver. The Coordinator may refer the family to other services if needed.

COURT DATE IS SCHEDULED

Marion County Teen Court meets on Tuesdays from 4:45pm to approximately 6:30pm (subject to change).  Location TDA.

Offender and parents/guardians sign participation agreements and a court sanction date is scheduled. The coordinator sets the date, prepares copies of police reports or other paperwork generated by the referral agency. The parents/legal guardians must be present at the sanctioning hearing.

Youth who successfully complete Teen Court can have their records expunged, if they choose to do so.

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