Senate Bill No. 236
(By Senators Wooton, Walker, White, Jackson, Buckalew, Hunter,
Craigo, Prezioso, Macnaughtan, Oliverio, Schoonover, Ball,
Dittmar, Bailey, Anderson, Snyder, Plymale, Bowman, Sharpe, Ross,
Sprouse, McKenzie, Love and Kimble)
[Introduced January 28, 1998; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact sections eleven-a and thirteen-d,
article five, chapter forty-nine of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended,
all relating to the teen court program as an alternative
proceeding for a juvenile accused of delinquency or a status
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections eleven-a and thirteen-d, article five, chapter
forty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS.
§49-5-11a. Status Offenders: Intervention and services by state
department; enforcement; detention; out-of-home placement; state department custody; least
(a) Services for status offenders provided by the department
shall be consistent with the provisions of article five-b of this
chapter and shall be designed to develop skills and supports
within families and to resolve problems related to the juveniles
or conflicts within their families. Services may include, but
are not limited to, referral of juveniles and parents, guardians,
or custodians and other family members to services for
psychiatric or other medical care, or psychological, welfare,
legal, educational, or other social services, or referral to the
teen court program, as provided in section thirteen-d of this
article, as appropriate to the needs of the juveniles and the
(b) If necessary, the department may petition the circuit
(1) For a valid court order, as defined in section four,
article one of this chapter, to enforce compliance with a service
plan or to restrain actions that interfere with or defeat a
service plan; or
(2) For a valid court order to place a juvenile out-of-home in a nonsecure or staff-secure setting, and/or to place a
juvenile in custody of the department.
(c) The court shall not be limited to the relief sought in
the department's petition and shall make every effort to place
juveniles in community based facilities which are the least
restrictive alternatives appropriate to the needs of the juvenile
and the community.
§49-5-13d. Teen court program.
child juvenile who has is alleged to have committed
a status offense or an act of delinquency which would not be a
criminal offense would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult,
and who is otherwise subject to the provisions of this article
shall may be given the option of choosing disposition proceeding
in a teen court program as an alternative to petition under
section seven of this article or proceeding to a disposition as
provided by section eleven-a or section thirteen of this article,
as the case may be. The decision to enter the teen court program
as an alternative disposition procedure shall be made jointly by
the circuit court, juvenile probation officer, the department and
parent, guardian or custodian of the child. The circuit court
shall find, prior to admission into the program, that the
offender is a suitable candidate for the program. Any child who
does not successfully cooperate in and complete the teen court
program and any disposition imposed therein shall be returned to the circuit court for disposition further proceedings provided by
section eleven-a or section thirteen of this article, as the case
(b) The teen court program shall be administered by the
governor's committee on crime and delinquency.
(c) The following provisions shall apply to all teen court
(1) The judge for each teen court proceeding shall be an
acting or retired circuit court judge or an active member of the
West Virginia state bar, who shall serve on a voluntary basis.
Bar members shall be offered continuing legal education credit
for such service.
(2) Any child who selects the teen court program as an
alternative disposition shall agree to serve thereafter on at
least two occasions as a teen court juror.
(3) Volunteer students from grades
ten seven through twelve
of high schools within the county shall be selected to serve as
defense attorney, prosecuting attorney, court clerk and bailiff
for each proceeding.
(4) Disposition in a teen court proceeding shall consist of
requiring the child to perform sixteen to forty hours of
community service, the duration and type of which shall be
determined by the teen court jury, from a standard list of
available community service programs provided by the county juvenile probation system and a standard list of alternative
consequences which are consistent with the purposes of this
article. The performance of the child shall be monitored by the
county juvenile probation system. The child shall also perform
two sessions of teen court jury service, and, if deemed
appropriate by the judge, the child shall participate in an
education program. Nothing in this section may be construed so
as to deny availability of the services provided under section
eleven-a of this article to juveniles who are otherwise eligible
(d) The rules for administration, procedure and admission of
evidence shall be determined by the chief circuit judge, but in
no case may the court require a juvenile to admit the allegation
against him or her as a prerequisite to participation in the teen
court program. A copy of such rules shall be provided to every
teen court participant.
(e) Teen court programs are pilot projects to be utilized
from the effective date of this section until the first day of
July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight, in the circuit
courts in three of the counties of this state. The supreme court
of appeals is to determine the counties in which the pilot
projects will be utilized based upon its determination of those
counties which have recently experienced the most significant
increases in the commission of criminal and status offenses by children.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to reauthorize teen court
programs as an optional proceeding for juveniles accused of
delinquency or status offenses.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.
This bill is recommended for passage in the 1998 session by
the Joint Legislative Task Force on Juvenile Foster Care,
Detention and Placement.