Fleschner Stark Tanoos and Newlin - October 2019

Advertising Material

October 2019

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Our referrals continue to be one of the best ways clients find us, and we deeply appreciate it! for your trust and confidence. Thank you As with any program, success depends on the commitment of those involved. The participants in the Teen Court program are, as the name suggests, predominantly teenagers. The program utilizes teenage attorneys, teenage or college-aged intern bailiffs, teenage or college-aged intern court clerks, and teenage jurors. The participants develop leadership abilities, teamwork skills, and a sense of self-worth. When people think of the month of October, one of the first things that comes to mind is Halloween. While this certainly is a fun holiday, and many people spend all month celebrating it (including decorating their homes for the big day), there is actually another“holiday”in October that isn’t as well-known. This day falls on the fourth Saturday of the month and is called Make a Difference Day. It brings attention to community service and acts of kindness, which we believe in at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. Outside of the firm, I’ve personally been able to make a difference volunteering with Chances and Services for Youth Teen Court. For the last several years, I have served as a judge, listening to cases. Teen Court is made to assist first-time offenders and is designed as a type of deferred program for children meeting certain eligibility requirements. To qualify for the program, the teen must admit to committing a misdemeanor or lower charge. The court session involves developing a constructive sentence through a process utilizing teenage attorneys and jurors, giving newmeaning to the phrase“jury of your peers.”Constructive sentences can include community service hours, jury terms, workshops, and essays. Each case brought before the jury will be different, as will the sentence. Once the sentence is completed, there is no evidence of the offense on the teen’s record, effectively giving the teenager a second chance to be a model citizen. The idea is to target those who, with some encouragement, have the best chance of staying out of future trouble.

The defendants are teens in the community, usually referred to

Teen Court from the juvenile probation office. After they are ticketed for their

offense(s), they are referred to Teen Court. The attorneys are trained volunteers, where the training consists of situational lessons, job shadowing, and acting as supportive counsel and lead counsel. The teen attorneys may call to question witnesses and bring forth information pertaining to their argument of the case. Aggravating and mitigating circumstances are heavily discussed. Teens make up the jury, and their verdicts must be unanimous before they can return from deliberation. Defendants participating in this program are required to serve at least one term as a jury member, but no more than four. Members will be selected from area schools. Participants select from three different terms: fall, spring, or summer. Without this program, I believe we would see more of our community’s youth in the court system. My job is not only to defer them from committing crimes in the future but to also truly understand who they are. I have heard cases where the charges range from intimidation to drug possession, with the defendant ranging in age from 9 to 18. Most of the time, they have something going on in their life that led them to commit the crimes. I can be there to offer support and make sure to emphasize that, even if no one in their lives has told them, they are bright and talented young individuals who have their whole lives in front of them. I have cried on the bench, and I have yelled on the bench. But I like to think this program and I have had an impact on these young people. I sometimes serve as a temporary judge here in Vigo County, and I can attest that grandfathers, fathers, and their sons have gone through the court system. Generations have come and gone. My goal with the Teen Court program is to make a difference by helping break this cycle and decrease the juvenile cases that are littered throughout our judicial system. – Caleb Fleschner

1 (812) 232-2000

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