Youth Court

Youth Court Coordinator
Lisa Miller


Youth Court Program

Youth Court is an alternative to the criminal justice system for young people who have committed a crime or an offense. The goal of Youth Court is to intervene in early anti-social, delinquent, and criminal behavior, and to reduce the incidence and prevent the escalation of such behavior.

Youth Court is a diversion program that gives first-time offenders a chance to avoid entering the criminal justice system or Family Court. It holds these youthful offenders accountable for their actions as they are judged by their peers. It also gives members an opportunity to work in the criminal justice system firsthand, prosecuting, defending, and judging the actions of their peers.

The Elmira Youth Court was started in Elmira in 1997 as a proactive response to increasing juvenile crime. Rather than allow the situation to spiral out of control, Police Chief Michael Ciminelli and the Elmira City Council adopted the Youth Court Program and it was developed by Rick†Kallenborn. Youths who went through the Youth Court Program received a second chance to right their wrongs without obtaining a criminal record. Instead, the Youth Court issues sanctions such as performing community service for a local organization, write an essay or report, write a letter of apology to the victim or victimís parents, attend instructional classes such as Anger Management, make restitution for damages incurred, and several others.

The Elmira Youth Court program is one of the busiest in the State of New York. Handling more than 300 cases per year, it serves the City of Elmira and the Elmira City School District. Offenders are referred to the Youth Court by the school district for actions on school property, by a police officer, or by a probation officer.

The success of the Youth Court has been tremendous. Nearly 90% of the youths complete their sanctions within the specified time. Many offenders who are issued community service continue to serve their organization after completing the sanction. Others become interested in the criminal justice system and become members of the Youth Court Program.

There are more than 80 members of the Elmira Youth Court Program. Members serve as clerks, attorneys, and judges handling cases, making judgments, and issuing sanctions. Members of Youth Court are young people who have successfully completed a law-related education training program. Areas of instruction include an overview of the criminal justice system, the organization, jurisdiction, and operation of Youth Court, the penal law, the consequences of crime, and sentencing issues. Also discussed are rehabilitation as a goal, the nature and types of evidence that are admissible in court and other issues. The training program concludes with trials followed by a bar exam. After the bar exam, interviews are conducted with the Youth Court Coordinator and Youth Court members are selected to fill vacant spots. Each member of Youth Court is required to sign and adhere to a confidentiality statement.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Youth Court member, applications are available in the Guidance Counselorís Office or from a social worker. Members must be attending a school in the Elmira City School District and must be in 7th through 12th grade.

City of Elmira Curfew

The City of Elmira has a curfew for youths 16 years of age and younger that prohibit them from being in a public place between the hours of 11:00pm and 5:00am. Both parents and youths that are deemed in violation of this ordinance shall be held accountable and dealt with accordingly by the Elmira Police Department.
Click here for the complete details of the Curfew Ordinance
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