Amanda Kuryluk, Esq. recently served as a volunteer attorney mentor with the Town of Bethlehem’s Youth Court.
Today there are local youth courts throughout various counties in New York State. This includes a number of youth courts in towns and cities within the Capital Region, including the Town of Bethlehem. Youth courts provide an essential function by giving youthful offenders under the age of 18 a second chance at becoming prosperous members of society by allowing them opportunities to avoid becoming part of the criminal justice system, which could include having a criminal record or becoming incarcerated. Youth courts train teenagers to serve as jurors, judges, and attorneys handling real-life cases involving their peers. The goal of youth court is to use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed small offenses give back to the community and receive the counseling and guidance they need to prevent further involvement in the criminal justice system. Youth Court handles a number of cases involving low level offenses that would otherwise wind up in Family Court.
During the Town of Bethlehem’s Youth Court, Kuryluk provided students with insight and guidance, including help with delivering opening and closing statements and questions to ask on direct and cross-exam. She also evaluated the students and provided them with feedback as they presented two trials that evening.