The judge, the crime, the defendant, and the jury are real. The jury’s decision is binding. Nevada County Peer Court was called to order Tuesday evening and two cases were presented. Peer Court is an extension of Juvenile Court and local high school students fill the roles of attorneys, bailiffs, clerks, and jury members. The attorneys are advised by local members of the bar.
District Attorney Cliff Newell explains the goal of Peer Court.
Click here to listen to District Attorney Cliff Newell
Cases are low-level misdemeanor crimes in which first-time juvenile offenders have already admitted guilt, and have agreed to allow the results of Peer Court be the determinant of their sentence. Judge Heidelberger volunteers her time along with a number of local attorneys because she believes in the program.
Student attorneys both prosecute and represent the defendants. Kirsten Williams has been involved with the program since the eighth grade and values her experience.
Other student attorneys value the knowledge they receive from mentor attorneys and the opportunity to practice presentation and debate skills.
Click here to listen to Chris Newell
Peer Court meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM in Department III on the second floor of the courthouse.