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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Cogar, Morrison speak about alternative court for teens

  • As a City and private practice attorney Steve Cogar knows the ins and outs of the law. The lawyer has taken his knowledge and put it to good use by working with area youths in Circuit 5 Teen Court.
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  • As a City and private practice attorney Steve Cogar knows the ins and outs of the law. The lawyer has taken his knowledge and put it to good use by working with area youths in Circuit 5 Teen Court.
    Circuit 5 Teen Court consists of students from Roane, Jackson, Mason and Calhoun Counties in West Virginia. This program is intended for first-time offenders and was established in 2008.
    Volunteers ranging from 6th -12th grade assume the various roles as that of a normal courtroom. The only position not assumed by a teen is that of a judge.
    Said Cogar, “We started doing this and Ripley did the same and then the county commission did the same. As a result of the kind of support, we have a pretty active Teen Court”.
    Cogar stated that 20 students from Ravenswood High and Ripley currently participate in the group that presides over their peers in numerous trials.
    Said Cogar, “They as of last week have held their 26th trial. Most of those trials have taken place right in this room (Ravenswood Council Chambers). We’ve had trials involving Ravenswood and Ripley students. Most of them are in school not all of them. We have taken 26 people out of the juvenile justice system by venture of this.”
    Cogar and Ravenswood Police Chief Lance Morrison agree that the program has proven to be a success.
    Said the chief, “This gives us another option too. A lot of times a parent will call in and they don’t want their 17 or 18 year old child in high school graduate with a criminal record.”
    “Judge Lawson has given us several of his cases to Teen Court. They do a good job with the support of the City of Ravenswood and it’s a good experience for the kids,” informed Cogar.
    Morrison finished, “Teen Court is a win, win situation.”
    For more information, call 304-542-3869 or email teencorutcoordinator@gmail.com.
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