About the Four Cities Peer Court
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The Four Cities Peer Court is a community partnership for restorative justice involving police departments, the juvenile justice department, and schools in Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village to support, educate, and hold youth accountable in their communities. Peer Court acts as a diversion program that is designed to give youth ages 12-17 with first-time, low-level law violations a chance to repair harm and show accountability for their actions without involvement in the juvenile justice system. Peer Court is funded by the Oregon Youth Development Council, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the Multnomah Bar Foundation, and Gresham Police Department.
Peer Court in the News
A former Peer Court Attorney recent wrote an article for a local online newspaper, The Oregon Optimist, about our program.
- Multnomah County Juvenile Justice Department
- Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
- Gresham Police Department
- Troutdale Police Department
- Fairview Police Department
- Generating and Growing Active Partnerships (GGAPP)
- Pathfinders of Oregon
- Portland State University School of Social Work and Criminal Justice Program
- Reynolds, Gresham-Barlow, Centennial School districts
Learn more about the Four Cities Peer Court on our Video section!
HOW PEER COURT WORKS
When a youth is cited for a first-time, low-level law violation in Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale, or Wood Village, the officer will offer the option to enter Peer Court instead of the juvenile justice system. The youth must then agree to make an admission to the law violation. Youth are required to engage a parent, guardian, or other pro-social adult in their pre-court interview and Peer Court proceeding. While in Peer Court, the youth will be assigned a volunteer student defense attorney and a student prosecuting attorney. Once the case is heard, the jury (also peers) decides what type of accountability fits the law violation. The presiding judge, an adult attorney who is licensed in Oregon, maintains order, guides the process, and oversees sentencing. Click Here to learn detailed information about sentence types, court fees, and fines and accountability assignments.
The goals of the project are to keep youth in school, support drug/alcohol-free youth, deter high-risk behavior, and provide education about the legal system. Peer Court sessions happen on Mondays or Thursdays, 4-6pm, and are scheduled twice to three times a month. Cases range from 30-45 min. with up to three cases heard each day. Check our calendar for exact times, dates, and locations of trials and trainings.
Download Peer Court Brochure
For more information about the need for and potential benefit of a Peer Court, Click Here. To download a presentation by the Multnomah County Juvenile Justice System,
Resources and News
Click here to read the National Association of Youth Court's most recent newsletter.
We recruit youth and licensed practicing or retired attorneys year-around. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Kim Harvey-Trigoso for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-891-9065. To download a volunteer application, click on the link below:
Youth Volunteer Application
Licensed Attorney Volunteer Application
High School Students:
Volunteer as a prosecutor, defense attorney, bailiff, or trial clerk!
- Earn potential school credit
- Be a part of something positive and exciting
- Set the stage for Senior and Service Learning Projects
- Earn letters of recommendation for college applications
- Meet new people
- Learn about the law, legal issues and concepts
- Receive training and coaching from legal professionals in a real-world legal process
- Make your community a better place for TEENS!
- Commit to attend the attorney/ jury training and volunteer 1-2 times a month in a Peer Court proceeding for two hours
Attorneys licensed in Oregon:
Volunteer to train students or sit as a judge!
- Train students in the law
- The ability to advertise your involvement
- Training of youth to be lawyers
- Benefit the community while networking
- Lower total cases tried in Juvenile Court and improve court efficiency
- Commit to presiding over a Peer Court proceeding once a month for two hours