2013-07-12 / Community

Youth Court Returns To Rockaway

By Miriam Rosenberg

They will be the judges, attorneys, jury members, and law clerks. They will work on real cases involving first time offenders who have been accused of committing minor crimes. They are the Far Rockaway Youth Justice Court (YJC) and they are looking for young people to take part.

Queens Law Associates has announced it will be hosting orientation meetings for the Far Rockaway Youth Justice Court this month. The first one was on July 11th from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Sorrentino Recreation Center at 18-48 Cornaga Avenue in Far Rockaway.

This program is termed an alternative response to youth crime in the community where peers judge, defend, prosecute and give out sentences to peers. It is not the first time that the youth court has come to Rockaway.

In 2007 the program started a two year run out of offices on Nameoke Street.

At that time Nancy Vazquez, the Far Rockaway Youth Court Coordinator, explained the goal of the program to The Wave.

“The goal of the court is to use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people committing low level offenses pay back the community and receive the help they need to avoid school exclusion and further involvement in the justice system,” said Vazquez.

“At the same time, the program empowers trained Youth Court Members to become community leaders: setting standards for acceptable behavior, making the community safer and helping other teens.”

It was closed down in September 2009 when funding for the Far Rockaway court was cut.

Queens Law Associates is a nonprofit criminal defense law firm which will be sponsoring the program. YJC is being co-sponsored by Team Deuce and the Sorrentino Recreation Center.

The program will begin July 16th and run every Tuesday from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

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