Seattle Youth Traffic Court – Law Student Mentor, Ongoing opportunity

Assist with running a youth traffic court working in collaboration with Seattle Municipal Court judges and magistrates, Garfield High School students, and Seattle Police.

Position: Seattle Youth Traffic Court
Open to: All law students
Time Commitment: Students must commit to approximately two to four hours per week, with monthly hearings, monthly high school training and once or twice-monthly law student mentor meetings, all held on Monday afternoons.
Location: Law School and Seattle Municipal Court
Application Process:  Email a letter of interest to the contact below.
Application Deadline: Rolling basis
Contact:  Margaret Fisher, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence and Director of Youth Court to apply by emailing her at fisherm2@seattleu.edu.

What is the Seattle Youth Traffic Court?

  • Seattle Youth Traffic Court (youth court) is the first youth court to be offered in Seattle.
  • Youth Court is a diversion process in which youth from Garfield High School sentence their peers who have received actual traffic tickets in Seattle.
  • Youth under the age of 18 without prior traffic violations are offered the opportunity to be sentenced by the youth court.
  • Operating under restorative justice principles, Garfield High School students conduct monthly hearings and sentence their peers using creative sentencing.
  • Youth completing their sentences have their tickets dismissed, no fine is paid, and no reports are made to the Department of Licensing.
  • It received the 2012 Seattle Youth Civic Education Award from the Seattle CityClub.

How Does the Seattle Youth Traffic Court Work?

  • Garfield students serve as judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jury, and court staff.
  • The court conducts up to eight hearings once per month in two courtrooms at the Seattle Municipal Court.
  • Dispositions generally include service on future youth court juries.
  • The Garfield defense attorney then mentors the defendant to ensure completion of the disposition.
  • SU law students develop policies, provide training, help the Garfield students prepare cases, manage the cases, and help with the hearings.

Why Should Law Students Get Involved?

  • Learn extensive legal content about civil procedure and traffic-related laws.
  • Develop leadership skills through program management and youth mentorship.
  • Get experience collaborating with many different partners including youth, teachers, judges, and police.
  • Hone legal skills by managing court processes.
  • Develop grant-writing, systems creation, and policy making skills.

What Kind of Commitment Do Law Students Need to make to Be Involved?

  • Students must commit to approximately two to four hours per week, with hearings, trainings and mentor meetings to be held at a regular time and day on Mondays.
  • Hearings occur once monthly on the third or fourth Monday of the month.
  • Trainings occur the first or second Monday of the month.
  • Additionally, the law student mentors meet every other week or once monthly on Mondays.
  • Food is served at all sessions.
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