Santa Cruz County’s Teen Court Program is a diversion program whereby first time juvenile offenders are given an opportunity to participate in the program if the offense qualifies and the juvenile wishes to admit responsibility. The court hearings currently operates in tribunal format with the judge asking questions and a teen jury deciding the consequences, under the supervision of a juvenile probation officer. When the juvenile completes the consequences the charges are adjusted, meaning they do not get formally filed in juvenile court.
Teen Court, it is a process by which first time misdemeanor or traffic offenders may choose to admit responsibility for their offense and accept constructive consequences (ex. community service, jury duty, counseling, tutoring, apology letters, reports, etc) imposed by a teen jury, in lieu of the traditional juvenile court process.