Talbot County Teen Court was started in 1999. It is a voluntary diversion program run by teens for teens. Respondents must be between the ages of 13-17, first time offenders, Talbot County residents, and admit their guilt.
In Teen Court, volunteers perform the roles of the prosecuting and defense attorneys, bailiff, clerk, Judge, and jury. Cases are referred to Teen Court by local law enforcement agencies, school systems, and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.
Depending on the severity of the offense, Talbot County Teen Court employs minimum and maximum ranges of sanctions. Respondents all receive between 8-60 hours of community service and 1-4 jury duties, but the jury may also mandate that the youth attend educational programs, write an apology letter, or compose an essay about the incident.
Respondents have 60 days to complete their sanctions. If the youth fails to complete the assigned sanctions, his case is referred to the Department of Juvenile Services, where a petition may be filed for formal action.