Thirteen new high school panelists, or peer judges, were trained to serve on the Buffalo/Pepin County Teen Court on Friday, April 12, 2019. Teen court panelists are trained to ask critical questions of first-time youth offenders in court to provide a meaningful sanction (or consequence) for their violations.
At the training teen court panelists learned skills in motivational interviewing, the principles of restorative justice and how to conduct themselves during a teen court deliberation. The new panelists also reviewed confidentiality, ethics and eliminating bias in a case. A mock trial was also conducted by veteran teen court panelists Jordan Anderson, Amber Kleinschmidt, and Breleigh Bauer. The highlight of the training was observing an actual plea hearing in the Honorable Tom Clark’s courtroom at the Buffalo County Courthouse and discussing with Judge Clark the rationale of why people commit crimes.
The new teen court panelists include: Emma Schrauth, Durand; Isaac Mikelson, Alma; Grace McQuiston, Alma; Jenna Auth, Pepin; Aly Bauer, Alma; Alexa Fetzer, Pepin; Evelyn Hullopeter, Pepin; Karissa O’Connell, Gilmanton; Daniel Palubicki, Mondovi; Emily Schuh, Mondovi; Sydney Seifert, Pepin; Emma Wayne, Durand; and Olivia Wieczorek, Alma.
The new peer judges join a team of twenty more teen court panelists including students from Cochrane-Fountain City, Alma, Gilmanton, Mondovi, Pepin and Durand schools. The Buffalo/Pepin County Teen Court is directed by an advisory board with representatives from juvenile courts, law enforcement, schools and human services in both counties and coordinated by University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Educators, Annie Lisowski and Marie Ritscher.