Ranch Reflections are articles written by LRHS students and staff who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for Mustangs to branch out beyond traditional news stories.  This edition features an LRHS sophomore’s experience in Manatee County’s Teen Court.

Nadia Gandhi – Mustangs Ahead

(Lakewood Ranch, FL) – On Saturday, Feb 18, I attended the Manatee County Teen Court attorney training at the Manatee County Central Library.

Teen Court allows teenagers to role play as attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, and jurors. These individuals all contribute to deciding appropriate sentences for teenagers who undergo misdemeanor offenses.

Once I found out about this opportunity, I became extremely excited to participate in attorney training; pursuing law has been an interest for me since a young age.

At this program, the Teen Court professionals explained various aspects of attorneys, such as etiquette in court and ways to properly defend a case.

We were given pamphlets which outlined how to effectively write our opening and closing statements, as well as practical questions to ask our defendant for different cases such as shoplifting and battery.

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While we were taught how to properly defend a case and support the defendant, we were also taught how to prosecute a case and support the State of Florida.

During the training, there were other Teen Court trained attorneys circulating the room to help us with the exercises we were doing.

LRHS sophomore Amaia Guevara has been Teen Court attorney for approximately nine months.

“I recommend this to anyone interested, as it serves an important purpose to the community since it gives first-time offenders the ability to have their punishment in the form of community service hours and jury duties instead of something that could permanently go on their record,” Guevara said.

Attorneys who volunteer with Teen Court gain community service hours.

Teen court was a fun and hands-on way to gain exposure to law and understand what I could potentially work with in the future.