Seattle Youth Traffic Court
What is the Seattle Youth Traffic Court?
- Seattle Youth Traffic Court (youth court) is the first youth court to be offered in Seattle.
- Youth Court is a diversion process in which youth from Garfield High School sentence their peers who have received actual traffic tickets in Seattle.
- Youth under the age of 18 without prior traffic violations are offered the opportunity to be sentenced by the youth court.
- Operating under restorative justice principles, Garfield High School students conduct monthly hearings and sentence their peers using creative sentencing.
- Youth completing their sentences have their tickets dismissed, and no report is made to the Department of Licensing.
- It received the 2012 Seattle Youth Civic Education Award from the Seattle CityClub.
How Does the Seattle Youth Traffic Court Work?
- Garfield students serve as judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jury, and court staff.
- The court conducts up to ten hearings once per month in two courtrooms at the Seattle Municiple Court.
- Dispositions generally include service on future youth court juries.
- The Garfield defense attorney then mentors the defendant to ensure completion of the disposition.
- SU law students develop policies, provide training, help the Garfield students prepare cases, manage the cases, and help with the hearings.
Why Should Law Students Get Involved?
- Learn extensive legal content about civil procedure and traffic-related laws.
- Develop leadership skills through program management and youth mentorship.
- Get experience collaborating with many different partners including youth, teachers, and judges.
- Hone legal skills by managing court processes.
- Develop grant-writing, systems creation, and policy making skills.
What Kind of Commitment Do Law Students Need to make to Be Involved?
- Students must commit to approximately two to four hours per week, with hearings and training to be held at a regular time and day of the week, generally on Mondays.
- Hearings occur once monthly on the third or fourth Monday of the month.
- Trainings occur the first or second Monday of the month.
- Additionally, the advisory board meets every other week or once monthly on Mondays when there are no hearings or trainings.
- Food is served at all sessions.
How Do I Apply and Who Do I Contact for More Information?
- Contact Margaret Fisher, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence and director of Youth Court to apply by emailing her at email@example.com.