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Gavel Signals Teen Court

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RALEIGH — Some young litigators spent the weekend preparing for the day they'll have to judge their peers.

The program is called Teen Court. It's an alternative to juvenile court for first time offenders committing minor crimes like shop lifting or vandalism.

Defendants are judged by their peers -- just like it is in adult court. Volunteers say that Teen Court forces their fellow classmates to think twice before breaking the law.

"They think, 'Now I have to come to Teen Court,' says teen volunteer Jason Dosti. "If they go to Teen Court twice, they're in big trouble. They're only allowed twice, then it's District Court."

More than 200 volunteers attended this weekend's summit.

The teens got tips from law professionals, including practicing judges who preside over teen court.