In partnership with the Municipal Court of Bothell, University of Washington Bothell and the Northshore School District, the Bothell Youth Court works towards empowering local youth to adjudicate real cases of traffic violations committed by their peers. Meeting once a month, Bothell Youth Court is presided over by a youth judge, witnessed by an all-youth jury, and cases are presented by youth attorneys. The court has heard over 50 cases and continues to work towards its goal of a safer community.
Mission: Bothell Youth Court is a community- based intervention and prevention program that provides an alternative response to the adult municipal court for first- time traffic infractions offenders, in which community youth are empowered to determine the appropriate sanctions for their peers and to hold them accountable for their actions. The program will provide to the youthful offenders and volunteers, educational services and hands- on experience in the judicial system in an effort to promote and increase life and coping skills that lead to enhanced public safety and will create future leaders in the community.
Youth courts nationwide have a promising impact on recidivism in minor offenses. The structure, focused on restorative justice and peer participation, facilitates learning, accountability, and community involvement among all the participants. Youth courts reduce the costs and administrative burdens on courts, benefiting our partners in the city government and enabling more direct and positive interactions between court officials and teens than a more traditional punitive model. Youth courts are truly the “ultimate jury of your peers.”