St. Mary’s County Government implemented the Teen Court Program in January of 2003. By May 2017, over 780 cases have gone before the court with a 82.54% total successful completion rate. First time misdemeanor youth offenders between the ages of 11-17 are eligible to participate. While the program went into hiatus and underwent a redevelopment and re-evaluation from January 2011 to late-2012, it has been re-established and is again growing. In July 2013, as the result of the joint initiative between the Teen Court Program, the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Program was expanded to include selected juvenile traffic violations, making St. Mary’s County only the second one in the state to also handle traffic cases. Sessions are held year-round every second and forth Monday of each month at the District Court located in the Carter State Office Building in Leonardtown, MD starting at 5:30 PM.
The success of the Teen Court Program depends directly on the efforts of adult and teen volunteers, along with support from the community. Volunteer opportunities are available for adults as Community Judges, Bailiff, Jury Monitor, Training Assistant, and/or assistant to the Teen Court Coordinator. For teens, the opportunity to help their fellow teens include being Teen Court jurors, Defense Attorneys, Prosecutors, and/or Court Clerks. Community support is needed for community service opportunities, participation recognition, volunteer incentives, and program publicity.
If you are available to assist with this very worthwhile program for our youth, visit our website for additional information, contact the Teen Court Coordinator at 301.475.4200 x *1852 or email us at: teencourt(at)stmarysmd(dot)com.