Kodiak Teen Court is a state-approved program in which youth serve as judges, prosecuting attorneys, and defense attorneys (as well as court bailiffs, court clerks and jurors) in real criminal cases involving youth under the age of 18. These programs are also called “Youth Courts” or “Community Diversion” courts. To become a Kodiak Teen Court Attorney, you most be between 8th and 12th grade, and complete the Kodiak Teen Court Law Class, take the Bar Examination, and related exercises.
Kodiak Teen Court accepts cases that are referred from the Alaska State court system, and from the Alaska Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). These cases typically involve minors who have committed misdemeanor offenses or offenses involving alcohol such as an MIP (Minor in Possession of Alcohol). The offenders, known as “Defendants” have voluntarily chosen to have their case handled by Kodiak Teen Court. These proceedings are closed to the public to protect the confidentiality of the juvenile involved. Offenders must be 18 or under for MIP or under the age of 18 at the time of the criminal offense.
After being found guilty in a trial or making a plea of no-contest during arraignment, sentencing arguments from the Kodiak Teen Court prosecuting and defense attorneys are made and a Kodiak Teen Court three-judge panel decides upon an appropriate sentence. The defendant has the right to appeal the sentence. Adult attorneys act as legal advisors in the courtroom.
The defendant has between thirty (30) and sixty (60) days to complete their sentence. Once successfully completed, the case is returned to Youth Corrections for closure or to the District Court / District attorney’s office in the case of MIP for closure.