Tucker Commission talks about Teen Court

Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora presented the idea of implementing a Teen Court to the County Commission this week.

Youths between the ages of 11 and 18 who are “alleged to have committed a status offense or an act of delinquency which would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult” and who complete the program successfully would have all of their charges dismissed.

“The defendants admit guilt and then the teen counsels argue over sentencing which usually results in some form of community service, which is decided by a jury of their peers,” LaMora said. “This would be used in place of juvenile court.

“For example, instead of being fined, a defendant could face up to 40 hours of cleaning up the toilets in all of the schools in the county.”

LaMora told commissioners at Wednesday’s meeting that the program has taken off in eight other counties.

“It teaches accountability to the teen offender and helps educate the other participating students about the legal process,” LaMora said.

According to the Facebook Group supporting the program, Tucker County’s Teen Court would be “a legally binding alternative system of justice that offers young offenders an opportunity to make restitution for their offenses through community service, educational classes and jury service.”

The program has not yet been approved, as commissioners are awaiting further information.

– Commissioners welcomed Tom Klus, who recited a 9/11 tribute to honor all whose lives were lost in the infamous terrorist attacks.

– Darla Stemple, director of the county’s 911 Center, updated the commission about the Center’s mobile command unit.

– Hartley Holte was appointed to the Tucker County Waste Authority, replacing Harold Matlick, who retired this year. Commissioners thanked Matlick for his dedicated service to Tucker County.

– The Appalachian Forest Heritage Resolution was tabled with a request for additional research, but a letter of support was drafted.

The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission will be 6 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Tucker Courthouse Courtroom.

Contact Chad Clem by e-mail at cclem@thintermountain.com.