News & Events

2014 Statewide Youth Court Conference

On September 22nd, the ANYSYC hosted a Youth Court Conference at the Syracuse University College of Law in the brand new Dineen Hall. The conference was made possible through grant funding from the New York Bar Foundation and a private donation from Judge Judith S. Kaye.

The day consisted of a morning plenary session with guest speakers Rick Hartunian, US Attorney for the Northern District of New York, and Judge Kaye, who delivered the keynote address. A mock hearing was performed by the Onondaga County Youth Court, which demonstrated how a tribunal model works. Morning workshops featured presenters from across New York, Sharese Crouther from Brownsville and Katherine Chambers from Warren County, as well as a representative from the National Association of Youth Courts, Jack Levine, from Florida. The afternoon plenary session and workshop focused on the impact of “raising the age” in New York State on Youth Courts. The afternoon plenary session guest speaker was Elaine Spaull, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Center for Youth in Rochester, which houses the Rochester Teen Court. Following Ms. Spaull’s presentation, conference attendees participated in roundtable discussions, facilitated by Marilyn Morey of the US Attorney’s office, to brainstorm ideas that might help prepare courts for impending changes in New York State associated with increasing the age of which one is considered an adult from 16 to 18 years old.

Overall the conference was very well received, well attended, and a great success.

Click here to see the mock hearing video from the conference.

Click here to see a full slide show of photos from the event.

Chief Judge Judith Kaye (retired) Chairs Special Committee on Youth Courts

Pictured above are Stephen Younger (President of the NYS Bar Association), Nancy Fishman (Project Director for Center for Court Innovation) and Chief Judge Judith Kaye, Chair for the NYSBA Committee.

Special Committee on Youth Courts Mission Statement

Youth Courts have a dual purpose. First, they are a vehicle for addressing real-life problems faced by young people (such as truancy, school fighting, graffiti, vandalism and shoplifting), intervening early to avoid more serious encounters that trigger a downward life spiral. Second, they offer participating teens, who are trained to serve as jurors, judges, attorneys and court personnel, education in our justice system, too often lacking today.

Overseen by volunteer lawyers, judges, educators, law enforcement officials or community members, Youth Courts take various forms. Sanctions typically include community service, letters of apology, behavior modification classes, essays and counseling. The courts use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who commit even minor offenses give back to the community and avoid further entanglement with the justice system. There are more than 80 Youth Courts operating throughout New York State.

The New York State Bar Foundation has supported Youth Courts by providing grants for the Center for Court Innovation to develop a comprehensive Recommended Practices Manual; for the Staten Island Youth Court to develop programs that provide opportunities for local teens to hear cases involving low-level offenses committed by youth; and for the Youth Justice Board, which seeks to influence juvenile justice through a model participatory democracy program that brings the voice of informed youth directly to policymakers.

The newly formed Special Committee will examine what roles the Bar Association can play in strengthening Youth Courts, defining best practices, identifying locations where new Youth Courts can be established, and developing strategies for raising funds to enlarge the initiative.

Please see the list of committee members throughout the state.

September 2013 Youth Court Event

The Youth Court Event was a resounding success! Following four packed morning workshops at the New York State Bar Association, a standing room only celebration at the Federal Courthouse concluded the inspirational day.

Judy Wolfe received an award from Marliyn Morey of the US Attorney’s Office for her years of outstanding work with Youth Courts. Richard Hartunian, US Attorney of the Northern District of NY looks on.

Oswego County Introduces a New Recruiting Video

Using one of the most popular websites on the internet, Oswego County Youth Court hopes to encourage and educate the viewers on YouTube. In a nearly 6 minute video, created by Jim Arnold a friend and supporter of the Oswego Youth Court, the viewer learns what happens to a youth who is arrested, how their case ends up in Youth Court, what it entails to become a Youth Court volunteer, and how community leaders view the Youth Court program and process. This is all done in an entertaining and novel way. It currently is rating a full five star review. The video can be viewed currently on YouTube.