About Us What is Teen Court? How Does it Work Volunteer Testimonials Calendar


From the Lawrence County Judicial System:

The program is truly an asset to our court system.  Not only does the Teen Court program offer an alternative to the youth and their parents, but it also offers us in the court system an alternative to formal prosecution.

John Fitzgerald, Lawrence County States Attorney


Your statistical results since 1995 speak volumes about the success of your program.  We are so fortunate that young people here have a chance to have their first mistake handled by their peers rather than by an adjudication of delinquency in circuit court for a minor offense. 


I have always considered your program highly successful and have admired the way you built it form the ground up and established it as a model for other South Dakota communities.

Warren G. Johnson, Presiding Fourth Circuit Judge


I have been a supporter of the program for many years.  The program allows juveniles to participate in Teen Court and avoid juvenile court.  Therefore, there is no adjudication of delinquency.  Also the program teaches young people about the court system by allowing them to participate as attorneys and jurors.  The Teen Court Program is a benefit to the participants and to the community.

Randall L. Macy, Fourth Circuit Court Judge


From Volunteers:

Teen Court has been beneficial to me in more ways than one. I joined Teen Court when I was a freshman in high school. Starting my first year of high school was hard, everyone is trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. I wasn’t athletic, so finding an extracurricular active was hard for me. When I came upon Teen Court, I figured I had nothing to lose by going and seeing what it was all about. At first I was very shy and didn’t participate much. As the months went on I slowly started coming out of my shell and began to enjoy it.  Now as a senior in high school I look back and couldn’t be more grateful for Teen Court. It has improved my speaking ability, the way I present myself, knowledge of the judicial system and how it operates, it allows me to give back to my community in a positive manner, and has given me memories and friendships I will always treasure.


Student Volunteer, Spearfish

Teen Court has benefited me a lot in my middle school and high school years. I've been involve in the Lawrence County Teen Court for 5-6 years and I love it! I've met some new people in which are good friends to me now. I've been able to go to conventions and to the competitions in Pierre for the Mock Trial Competition. From going to all the different things, I have learned how to become a better jury foreman, learned more ideas for sentencing, and what types of questions to ask during the hearings. I really like the classes that are put on as well! Now, as a senior in high school, I am doing my Senior Project about Teen Court and I'm excited to learn even more about it.

Student Volunteer, Lead

From Parents of Offenders:


She showed an interest in the judicial process.  Also she gained an understanding of actions having consequences and hopefully will make her think before she acts.


My daughter seems to have a greater respect for things.  She realizes that if she chooses the action, she chooses the consequence as well.


More respectful, more conscious of the impact her decisions made on others


I believe this helped her to take a better path toward her future.


I think it was a very good learning experience for him.


I loved the idea of a peer jury and allowing them to decide what would be fair.  It provides an amazing opportunity for teens to learn about the legal process.  The courses seemed to provide some insight that perhaps teens don’t really get exposed to.  I think it provide my student with new knowledge about the harms of alcohol and what impairment is that he/she wouldn’t have otherwise understood.  Thank you for your work.  This is an exceptional program!





This Web site is funded through a grant from the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).