Tulsa's Youth Court

Wednesday, November 17th 2004, 6:34 am
By: News On 6

Some aren't even old enough to drive, yet they're preparing legal briefs, handing down sentences, and helping clients go free.

Tulsa Youth Court is a first-hand look at the justice system. A mock trial was held Tuesday night for court officers in training. TYC conducts dozens of actual trials every year.

Parents and first time youthful offenders agree to have their misdemeanor cases appear before the youth court and abide by its ruling. Sentences range from verbal apologies to community service.

Teen volunteers rotate court positions, between judge, prosecutor and defense team. They train for 7 weeks under Tulsa attorneys and must pass a version of the bar exam. TYC defense attorney Amir Batman: "It really opens my eyes as to what a lawyer is. It can either tell you this is what you want to do for a career, or this is not for you.”

According to organizers, 98% of defendants say their court experience would have an effect on their future behavior.