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Teen Court celebrates ten years

Teen Court celebrated its tenth anniversary Monday night at the New Hanover County Courthouse. Despite the name, Teen Court, it is real. Real people in real cases with sentences handed out to teenagers by juries of their peers after they have heard an entire trial. In order to get into Teen Court defendants must admit responsibility. District Attorney Ben David served as the judge in the first case Monday night. He was one of the original creators back in 1999. “This has been an incredible decade for this court to grow into what it is today where we have students from all over the area come to participate as lawyers and as jurors and bailiffs and clerks,” said David. “We believe when you have a teachable moment when young people hear from their friends and colleagues about what happened that they'll take it seriously and they have. We've seen that over a decade.” The rate of repeat offenders is much lower in Teen Court than it is for the normal courts. That makes the program worthwhile for the DA.

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