Nearly 60 guests joined us tonight for the first annual Awards and Recognition Banquet, making it an evening to be remembered! Board Members, Volunteer Judges and parents alike joined us as we celebrated the accomplishments and pain staking efforts of our committed and enthusiastic volunteers. Without their commitment to Teen Court, the program could not exist. Thank you all for giving your time and dedication to making Teen Court possible! On a personal note, I just wanted to say that I had no idea how much these individuals would mean to me when I started volunteering last year. I am extremely grateful to have been able to be a part of their lives and witness their accomplishments. Thank you for all that you do!!
It is with great excitement and appreciation that we announce tonight’s categories and award winners:
Out of a possible 28 Thursdays, 8 Training Sessions, Mock Trials and Promotional Events, the above volunteers achieved 27 Thursdays, Training Sessions and Promotional Events! Thank you for your dedication!
To our Outstanding Volunteers who intently listen to each case as it is presented, offer their insights and opinions in discussing the case during deliberation, and never fail to deliver a fair and just sentence…we salute you!! Thank you so much!
Longevity Awards were presented to those volunteers that have committed their time and have dedicated themselves to the Teen Court program for two to five years. Thank you so much for your dedication and involvement in the program! You are greatly appreciated!
The Court Clerk Award
Naomi has stood by the Director’s side during court sessions, keeping court rooms and case files organized and insuring Judges, Attorney’s and Defendants are in their place in time for proceedings! Bless you for all of your hard work!
To our Seniors, Class of 2016, we congratulate you on such a great accomplishment! May all of your dreams come true with happiness and success in your future!
Not only do our Judges volunteer their time to reside on the bench and hear cases to insure that a fair and impartial sentence was given, but they give their time to guide and instruct our Attorney’s to help in developing their skills. This mentoring is invaluable and priceless to our volunteers who have aspirations to be an attorney. Thank you so very much for all that you do for our volunteers and the program!
It is with extreme gratitude that we thank everyone that makes a contribution to the Teen Court program! “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”-Sherry Anderson
Other photos of this event may be seen on our Facebook page!
The court room was packed Thursday evening as the Big Bad Wolf stood trial for breaking the window of Grandma’s home in Grimm County, Teencourtia. The preliminary hearing was being held to determine if Mr. Wolf’s Miranda rights were violated during questioning by the arresting officer, Officer Ward.
The Miranda warning states, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” The Miranda warning is intended to protect the suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
Officer Ward stated in her testimony that upon arriving at the scene, she was able to follow a trail of wolf prints from Grandma’s home that lead her to Mr. Wolf. After briefly speaking with Mr. Wolf, Officer Ward invited him to the police station to continue their conversation, in which Mr. Wolf willingly obliged.
It was during his conversation at the police station with Officer Ward, that Mr. Wolf mentioned that he was at Grandma’s house earlier in the day and that he had in fact broken the window at Grandma’s house in order to follow his forest friends inside. After hearing this statement made by Mr. Wolf, Officer Ward blocked the door, taking away Mr. Wolf’s ability to leave on his own free will. It was not until later in the conversation that Officer Ward read Mr. Wolf his Miranda rights and placed him under arrest.
Defense Attorney, Ms. Natasha Lodholz, argued that this statement was inadmissible because the Miranda Warning was not given prior to Mr. Wolf being interrogated in custody; however, the Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Jon Kotilnek, argued that Mr. Wolf was not in fact in custody because he willingly followed Officer Ward to the police station and voluntarily gave his statement.
Before the jury’s deliberation, Honorable Judge Lauren LaMontagne reminded them that the definition of custody means formal arrest or the deprivation of freedom to an extent associated with formal arrest and that interrogation means explicit questioning or actions that are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response. If someone’s Fifth Amendment rights are violated, then you must suppress the statement given as a result of the violation.
Approximately thirty Teen Court volunteers were split into three juries for deliberation on the case in order to decide if in fact Mr. Wolf’s Miranda rights were violated and whether or not his statements to Officer Ward would be admissible in court.
After a lengthy deliberation, the trial ended in a hung jury with 1/2 of the jury members believing the statement should be allowed and 1/2 of the jury members believing the statement should be suppressed.
Which side of the jury would you be on? Was he held in custody? Was he being interrogated? Was he free to leave? Were Mr. Wolf’s Miranda rights violated? Only you can decide!
May 1st is Law Day! Know your rights!
The wording that is used when an individual is read the Miranda Warning, aka ‘Mirandized,’ is clear and direct:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” MirandaWarning.org
In honor of this years theme, Miranda: More Than Words, our volunteer judges will be presenting a mock trial for our volunteers at the Comanche County Courthouse this Thursday, May 5th, in lieu of court sessions. This is an awesome opportunity and we are extremely grateful!