What Is The Layton Youth Court?

Layton Youth Court trains high school age youth to act as judges, clerks, and bailiffs in actual criminal cases. It does not determine guilt, but takes youth who admit their mistakes and provides appropriate consequences to promptly hold them accountable for their actions.

Layton Youth Court provides an alternative to the juvenile justice system or further school review for appropriate juvenile offenders. It is a diversionary program that keeps the offending youth from having a permanent juvenile court record while holding the youth accountable for their conduct before a court of their peers.

Layton Youth Court provides punishment for youth that includes an element of positive peer pressure not available in any other juvenile diversionary program. Youth offenders find out that not only do adults in our community find their conduct objectionable, but their peers do not approve either. They also learn that their peers care about them and want them to succeed and build the skills needed to avoid this type of behavior in the future.

Who Is Eligible For Youth Court?

  • Youth between the ages 10 to 17 who have committed minor infractions - most class B and C misdemeanors and violations of school rules such as truancy.
  • Youth who have appeared before Youth Court in the past 12 months or who have a juvenile court record may not be eligible for Layton Youth Court

To appear before Layton Youth Court, a youth must:

  • Admit guilt and agree to abide by court sanctions.
  • Appear at the hearing with their parent or guardian.
  • Agree to pay any restitution due a victim as part of the sentence.
  • Pay a non-refundable $20.00 administration fee at the time of the hearing. ( $30.00 to be paid at the time of the hearing, and then $10 to be refunded upon completion of the program.)
  • Not have a case pending in Juvenile court, be currently on Probation in the Juvenile Court, or be under the supervision of the Division of Youth Corrections.

What Procedure Will The Youth Go Through?

Youth referred to Layton Youth Court go through a screening process to make sure they qualify for youth court participation. The youth and parent are then contacted by Layton Youth Court and the hearing is scheduled. The Layton Youth Court is held Wednesday evenings at 5:00 p.m. in the Layton City Center at 437 North Wasatch Drive.

After hearing the case, Layton Youth Court determines consequences appropriate to the offense. A contract is drawn up outlining the consequences. The youth is usually given 60 days or more to complete the contract and then appears back in Layton Youth Court. If the contract has been successfully completed, the case is closed.

What Are The Benefits Of Youth Court?

  • Law enforcement and school officials have a strong new option for handling violations.
  • Youth develop an understanding and respect for the law.
  • Youth offenders receive no permanent juvenile court record. A report may be held in juvenile court diversion records for approximately one year and then destroyed. The Youth Court records are kept for one year, then they are destroyed, also.
  • Youth Court reduces the volume of minor cases burdening the juvenile court system, freeing it to focus on more serious offenders and offenses.
  • Youth receive education and practical experience in administering justice.
  • Youth Court provides leadership opportunities for youth.
  • Victims receive valuable service and swift redress for wrongs through youth performing community services in OUR community.

What If The Parent Or Youth Do Not Want Youth Court?

Layton Youth Court is a voluntary program. If any interested party does not wish to utilize Layton Youth Court, the case will be referred through traditional avenues.

What Types of Consequences Could Be Imposed By Youth Court?

Common consequences include community service hours, peer counseling (this is done every Wednesday evening from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Layton City Center), "CHOICES" classes are also taught (The classes are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Layton City Center), and oral or written reports are also assigned. Tutoring is also available. Youth may be referred to counseling programs for truancy, drug, alcohol, or tobacco abuse (there may be fees for attendance). Letters of apology, restitution, and any other disposition that is in the youth's best interest may also be part of the disposition.

How Can I Get Involved With Youth Court?

Layton Youth Court needs both youth and adult volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Layton Youth Court.

The Layton Youth Court has been initiated in our community by the Layton Community Action Council, which promotes Utah's Promise.

The Youth Court Committee consists of volunteers representing the Layton City Council, the Mayor's Office, the Layton City Police Department, the Layton City Attorney's Office, Weber State University Criminal Justice Department, Davis County School District, Layton High Schools and Junior High Schools, and concerned citizens of Layton City.

Layton Youth Court Mission Statement

The Layton Youth Court program is a community-based intervention/prevention designed to provide an alternative response for the juvenile justice system for the first-time, nonviolent, misdemeanor juvenile offenders, in which community youth determine the appropriate sanctions for the offender. The program will hold youth offenders accountable and provide educational services to offenders and youth volunteers in an effort to promote long-term behavioral change that leads to enhanced public safety.

How The Layton Youth Court Got Started

On April 27-29, 1997, America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth was founded after the President's Summit for America's Future was held in Philadelphia. Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter, and Ford with first Lady Nancy Reagan representing her husband, challenged the nation to make youth a national priority. General Colin Powell is the founding Chairman. It was formed to mobilize people from all sectors of American life to build the character and competence of our nation's youth by fulfilling all five promises. These Promises provide a broad, inviting, and action-oriented framework around which community organizations and individuals of all types can mobilize and commit to fulfilling. The Five Promises provide a baseline of what each child needs to succeed in life.

The Five Promises are:

  1. Ongoing relationship with caring adults----parents, mentors, tutors, or coaches.
  2. Safe places and structured activities during non-school hours.
  3. A healthy start and heathy future.
  4. Marketable skills through effective education.
  5. Opportunities to give back through community service.

In October, 1997, General Colin Powell came to Utah and helped Governor Mike Leavitt launch Utah's Promise, which is a grassroots effort that mobilizes volunteers to improve local communities. At which time, all communities were called upon to hold summits in their communities. Layton held one at Northridge High School. From that, the Layton Community Action Council was formed.

The Layton Community Action Council (LCAC) is as non-profit, volunteer organization created in a response to Utah's Promise. The LCAC sponsors several programs and the Layton Youth Court is one of those programs.

Stephanie Snitker had heard about youth court from the Syracuse Youth Court and had made inquiries about starting one in Layton. Meetings were held with the Syracuse Youth Court coming and giving a presentation to the group. In attendance were stake holders in Layton. The Mayor, city council members, the City Attorney, the City Manager, the Chief of Police, other officers, members wanting to be part of LCAC and concerned citizens were some of those in attendance. Karlene Kidman was asked to help do some research and found Michelle Heward at WSU who had help start several youth courts in Utah.

Karlene and Stephanie started to organize the Layton Youth Court. They had the help of about six other adults from the community. They were given the go ahead in June 1998 and Stephanie recruited youth and got the word out for others to be part of it and training started. Michael Phillips was recruited to be another adult advisor. The schools were contacted and were interested in being part of it. Thirty nine youth were trained and sworn in to start hearing cases September 1998. Lark Woodbury was recruited to write and teach the CHOICES class in 1999.

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