LUBBOCK, Texas — Students at Estacado High School acted as prosecutors, defendants and jurors on Thursday when they handed down a verdict on two different juvenile cases.
Lubbock Municipal Court Judge, Meryl Benham, said the program is made possible by a state statute that allows juvenile defendants to have their cases heard among their peers.
“There’s all sorts of data that shows that teenagers who are held accountable from their peers take the process more seriously,” Judge Benham said. “They are more likely to do their punishment, whatever that is.”
Judge Benham said the defendants who have their case heard in teen court won’t have the offense count as a conviction on their record.
“It’s a misunderstanding that many young people think because they were sixteen during the offense that it will go away,” Benham said. “It doesn’t go away.”