Youth Court


In May 2014, the Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (CALL) Class XVIII, in coordination with the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, implemented a Youth Court program in Cincinnati.

Youth Courts have rapidly spread across the nation in the last 10 years.

Current data indicates that more than 1,200 Youth Court programs are present in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  The Youth Court program has been touted at the state and national levels and has been successful at diverting thousands of teens from the juvenile justice system.  The American Bar Association predicts that 25% of all juvenile arrests will be handled in Youth Courts by the year 2015.

Youth Court is designed for first time misdemeanor offenders ages 13-17.

The process begins with a referral from Juvenile Court.  In order for a case to be heard by the Youth Court, the child must first accept responsibility for his/her actions and both the parents and the child must consent to participating in the Youth Court. 


 View Youth Court Manual

(1) Use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed minor offenses do not reoffend.  Respondents pay back the community through sanctions that emphasize restoration, encouraging them to make amends through actions such as performing community service.

(2) Expose high school students to experiential learning that is designed to complement classroom lessons about government.  Youth Court members learn first-hand how courts work, stepping into the role of jurors.  Jurors also have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of high school students from around the city and interact with practicing attorneys.

(3) Provide law students with the opportunity to interview clients and advocate on their behalf in a real courtroom setting.

Respondents are first time misdemeanor and status offenders with no official court record who have been deemed eligible for Youth Court by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

Youth Court takes place at:

The Youth Center
2020 Auburn Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

Below you will find the necessary forms and information required to participate in Youth Court.


Please send your completed sanctions to: Brenda Gallagher at Brenda_Gallagher@ca6.uscourts.gov.

High school students serve as Youth Court jurors. These students have been identified as positive role models who maintain high standards of conduct and encourage others to do the same.

To serve as a volunteer juror please contact Brenda Gallagher at Brenda_Gallagher@ca6.uscourts.gov. Below you will find the necessary forms and information required to participate in Youth Court.

To nominate a high school student to serve on a jury, please send nomination forms to Brenda Gallagher at Brenda_Gallagher@ca6.uscourts.gov.

Access the nomination form here.

Law students serve as prosecutors and defense counsel, prosecuting and/or representing first time misdemeanor offenders in court.

To volunteer, please contact Brenda Gallagher at Brenda_Gallagher@ca6.uscourts.gov.

Volunteer attorneys serve as judges and bailiffs for the Youth Court hearings.

To volunteer, please contact Brenda Gallagher at Brenda_Gallagher@ca6.uscourts.gov.