What is Teen Court?

What is Teen Court?



Teen Court is a voluntary program that assists teenage offenders, ages 10-18, in assuming responsibility for their behavior through involvement in the judicial process and service in the community.  First time offenders are brought before a jury of their peers where they are sentenced to constructive service and from this they gain an understanding of their roles in society.  Additionally, the community reciprocally benefits from these youths’ involvement in their programs.  Each individual’s self-worth will be maintained by respectful treatment and confidentiality.  Teen court has been established to add a new concept of diversion and accountability for our juvenile offenders.  Young people participating in the program will function as constructive and contributing members of their community.  The program seeks to minimize the negative labeling of referred youth.



Assist teen offenders in recognizing that they are responsible for their behavior


Teach that the consequences they experience are a direct result of their own actions


Promote a positive attitude toward authority by showing respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity to all individuals


Provide a forum for teens to experience the judiciary system and, in the process, reduce the likelihood of youth committing repeat offenses


Establish positive relationships between the community and its youth, the results of which are better understanding and communication

How Does it Work?

To be eligible for Teen Court, a juvenile will be referred from the States Attorney’s office. The offender’s acceptance of Teen Court’s services will be strictly voluntary and available only to those who plead guilty. All functions in the Teen Court courtroom, except that of the Judge, are carried out by teens, including the prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, court clerk, court bailiff and all jurors. The Judge is a volunteer attorney that sits on the bench. Sentences recommended by the Teen Jury may include community service tasks, serving as a teen juror, restitution, and participation in the Life Skills classes offered by the Teen Court program.

Sentences will vary in length of commitment in accordance with the severity of the case, but cannot last longer than 90 days. Upon completion of the Teen Court sentence contract, the case will be dismissed. Each teen offender will pay a court cost. All offenders brought into the teen court program with a drug/alcohol charge MUST complete a prevention/education program as presented by a certified chemical dependency counselor. All youth who are brought before the court on a tobacco charge MUST complete a tobacco class.  All youth brought before the court on multiple drug/alcohol charges MUST complete an alcohol evaluation administered by a certified chemical dependency counselor.


Alexandra Lux – Director

Alexandra “Lexi” has lived in the Black Hills for most of her life. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in political science and history from the University of South Dakota in 2011 as well as a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from USD in 2020 and has completed coursework toward a Masters of Public Administration. She has spent over ten years working in and around law enforcement as a community service officer, telecommunicator, police officer, and sheriff’s deputy. During this time, Lexi has assumed many roles including receiving training in domestic violence, crisis intervention, DARE, and sexual assault response.

In May 2019, Lexi assumed the role of Director of Lawrence County Teen Court. Lexi is passionate about investing in the younger generation to create a brighter future. She is currently working to expand Teen Court to better serve area youth outside of the court room. Lexi serves as part Lawrence County Coalition, Deadwood Optimists Club, volunteers with TeamMates and Junior Achievement, and is a member of the Victims of Violence Intervention Program Board of Directors. In her free time, Lexi enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her husband and children.

Kim Kinney – Advisor

Kim has been volunteering with Lawrence County Teen Court since 2013. She obtained her J.D. Degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 2013. Following Law School, Kim worked as the Law Clerk for South Dakota’s Fourth Judicial Circuit. She is a member of the State Bar of South Dakota and serves as the Fourth Circuit Representative on the Young Lawyers Board of Directors. She is also on the Board of Directors for Lawrence County Teen Court. Kim obtained her bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Latin American Studies and International Business at the University of Arizona. Born and raised in South Dakota, she enjoys the state’s beauty and recreation by spending her free time outdoors with her family, hunting and fishing, and keeping her dog active.