The Charles County Sheriff's Office held the 2005 Teen Court Banquet Oct. 26 to honor the youth and adult volunteers who make the program a success.
Teen Court, established in Charles County in 2000, allows first-time youth offenders the opportunity to accept responsibility for minor crimes without incurring a criminal record. Participants appear before a jury of their peers and an adult community judge and the jury collectively decides on a sentence for the participant.
Wendy Povitsky-Stickle of the University of Maryland Criminal Justice Program served as guest speaker. Povitsky-Stickle established the St. Mary's County Teen Court in 2002 and evaluates Teen Court programs across the state for the University of Maryland and the Governor's Office of Crime, Control and Prevention.
Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis presented the awards. Chief Community Judge Diana Donahue and Community Judges Doug Cooley, Beverly Deniston and Kenneth Talley were honored first. Donahue has been with the program since its inception and has played a key role in developing and implementing the procedures used today. Cooley has volunteered for more than four years, overseeing a wide range of cases, specifically traffic cases. Deniston is a two-year Teen Court veteran who has provided exceptional insight to issues facing teens today. Talley, who has volunteered for more than a year, delivers a powerful message to the respondents by incorporating his experiences in the Public Defender's Office.
The juvenile intervention officers of the Charles County Sheriff's Office were recognized for their eagerness to help and work with individual students and address each students concerns. Those honored include Cpl. Dorrell Savoy, Cpl. Jason Stoddard, Cpl. Donald Kabala, Cpl. Mark Kaylor, PFC Paul Anderson, PFC Christopher Cusmano, PFC Patrick Hood and Maryland State Police Trooper Mitch Crawford.
Other adults were honored for volunteering to manage juries, serve as bailiffs, establish and maintain the Teen Court Web site, perform exit interviews and provide other Teen Court Services. The senior adult volunteers honored were Victor Curtis and Gregory Jones. The honored adult volunteers include Marie Ford, Steve Laudenslager, Michelle St. Germain, Edith Turi and Mary Penzenstadler.
The first group of Teen Court's youth volunteers to be honored were the attorneys. They include Prosecuting Attorney Josh Ford, Prosecuting and Defense Attorney Amanda Dotson, Defense Attorney Kimberly Jones and Prosecuting Attorney Dylan Cahn.
Defense Attorney MacKenzie Arnold received the Teen Court Most Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award for leading efforts by her Government class to raise $557 for Teen Court. The donation will help establish a scholarship program for Teen Court's youth volunteers.
Other youth volunteers who were honored include Lindsay Cooksey, Kassi Boyce, Daniel Schindel, Anthony Martin, Tyler Russell, Lashae Doyle, Jania Osborne, Jeana Bonds, Hayley Bois, Jessica Parthree, Andrew Almaraz, Porsha Barr, Naomi Coleman, Jennifer Greer, Kezia Barnett, Henry Hong, Claudia Villalta, Courtney McCaw, Susan Igbokwe and Gavin Reen.
The Teen Court program also thanked the following businesses who have contributed to the program the Greater Waldorf Jaycees, the Southern Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.
The banquet was held at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center.
For more information on the Charles County Teen Court Program, please call 301- 609-3916 or visit the website at www.ccteencourt.org.