The West Seneca Youth Court was one of the first of it's kind in New York State when Established on May 21st,1984
The Youth Court is run under the direction of the West Seneca Police Juvenile Department and overseen by an Executive Board of town citizens.
Each court session is monitored by a qualified volunteer attorney and a police detective.
The First Youth Court was setup by the Late Detective Henry Kozierowski and then West Seneca Youth Director Marge McLaughlin.
The West Seneca Youth Court has been used as a model for other departments all over the United States.
Youth Court is a peer court. juveniles who have not reached their sixteenth birthday will be tried, judged, defended and convicted or exonerated by a court made up of other juveniles.
The court will have guidelines established for advice. However, the youths selected to serve the court will make the final decisions.
The primary goal of youth court is to reduce incidents of juvenile crime, divert offending youths from the Juvenile Justice System and to provide an alternative to the Family Court process. and further contact with police.
The most common cases heard in Youth Court are petit larceny, harassment, trespassing, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and ABC violations.
This unique court serves the community in diverse ways. It educates youth to a better understanding of the laws and allows them to examine the workings of the Justice System. Problem youths with minor offenses are often overlooked but can be appropriately handled in this court, community, the police and themselves.
Training Attorneys are an integral part of the Youth Court operations.
Youth Court History
West Seneca's Youth Court was formed in 1984 as an alternative to sending 7-15 year old's to Family Court for Lesser Crimes.
The first Executive Board was formed and set the framework for the development of West Seneca Youth Court. The Board was made up of school officials, Town businessmen, local attorney's, Youth Board Members, Police Juvenile Bureau Officers, and persons interested in youth.
Subsequently, the Training Attorney Committee was developed. It was composed of 11 area attorneys, judges, and town attorneys who volunteered their services to the program.
They developed the Youth Court Training Manual and the ten week orientation and training program.
In the Fall of 1984 the first Youth Court recruitment was held. Twenty-three young persons were chosen out of 95 applicants to enter Youth Court Training, All between the ages of 13 and 19. The first Youth Court session was held in February of 1985.