YORKTOWN, N.Y.-Since 2007, the Alliance for Safe Kids Youth Court has adjudicated 45 real criminal cases involving minors and their misdemeanor offenses. Overseen by town justices, the teens fill every role in the court: judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jury, clerk and bailiff. At the end of trial, the teens hand down a sentence to their peer, typically involving some form of community service.

Now in its 12th year, the Youth Court program has just graduated its largest class. For some of those 42 students, it may not be the last time they work inside a courtroom.

“I remember the first time that this was proposed and we began work on this,” said Town Justice Sal Lagonia. “Members of the Alliance for Safe Kids and myself probably had some doubts that it would last more than a year or so.”

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