Community Boys and Girls Club holds mock trial

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Members of the Community Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington are taking the law into their own hands.

"We found that the simple ways of dealing with behavior problems weren't working, so we came up with a way that any time somebody does a violation such as fighting or stealing, we write them a citation. They're assigned a teen lawyer and a court date," says teen director, Traci Bullock.

They call it the Teen Hall of Justice, and on the docket was a kissing violation case.

The prosecution says two club members hatched a plot to drop their pencils during homework time so they could kiss under the pool table.

But the boy's defense attorney says that her client was ambushed by his co-defendant.

"One of the defendants who was charged really took it seriously and thought he was going to jail... that's how real this experience was for him," says Judge James Faison.

The entire trial is run by students with the help of New Hanover County Judge Faison. That includes student lawyers and a true jury of their peers.

The jury found the girl guilty, but the boy's case there was a hung jury.

"I told him they didn't find you guilty and they didn't find you not guilty, so you're lucky this time. So, I think he'll look out next time and be more cautious," says defense attorney Breasia Shaw.

These trials are teaching all the students about the consequences of their actions.

"This was an excellent opportunity for the children to learn the process," says Judge Faison.

The Boys and Girls Club staff say the teen court is already working.

Most of the children who've already faced a jury have made it a point to stay on the right side of the law.

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