Teen court in session in New Hanover County

It's a typical scenario at teen court.  A teenager gets into a fight and is charged with a misdemeanor.  Instead of going through the court system, first time juvenile offenders are given the chance to plead guilty and let their peers determine their sentences.  The only adult is the judge, a real attorney.  The clerks, bailiffs, attorneys and jurors are all teen volunteers.

Most defendants get community service as part of their sentence.  With that can also come an apology letter or essay to the victim, a tour of the New Hanover County jail, and a mandatory return trip to teen court to serve on the jury.  If the teens fullfill their sentences, they won't get a criminal record.  Their teenage mistakes won't follow them into adulthood.