Garage sale will benefit Teen Court

Teen Court advocates are seeking donations for a fundraiser garage sale on Aug. 25.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 4099 Barrett Drive and proceeds will be used to pay for training costs associated with the juvenile program that is funded by grants.

"Teen court helps get the kids more involved in the community and make them more responsible and aware of what's going on around them," said Michelle Westfall, garage sale organizer.

She said people wanting to contribute toward the effort may drop quality used goods off at the above address or call her at 387-0106 to arrange for pickup.

Hood River started teen court almost three years ago, primarily for first time offenders. The youth program requires individuals to answer to their "peers" for crimes that include small theft, minor criminal mischief, traffic infractions for those under 16, possession of illegal substances, curfew violation and graffiti.

If convicted, these defendants have to serve at least once on the five to seven-member jury that is also made up of volunteer schoolmates. All potential jurors are given special training and a mock trial to learn how a legal proceeding works. Only two positions in teen court are held by adults: the jury adviser and the role of court administrator.

Unlike the regular court system, in teen court the jury listens to the court officer lay out the case and then each individual juror asks a specific question of the defendant. Although some sentences are mandatory for specific crimes, the jurors are often allowed to come up with creative punishments that include having perpetrators write letters of apology to their victim, requiring that they speak publicly on the detrimental effects of drinking and driving, or mandating that they make a collage with an anti-drug theme.

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