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Montgomery County’s teen court celebrates 15 years

ROCKVILLE — Montgomery County is celebrating 15 years since it began its teen court program, which involves teens who serve as a jury to other teenagers accused of low-level crimes.

Judicial officials in the county including State’s Attorney John McCarthy plan a reception Wednesday evening at the county’s judicial center. Teen court participants are expected to speak.

Teens between the ages of 12 and 17 get referred to the court for various offenses including theft, marijuana possession and alcohol violations. They have 60 days to complete sanctions against them decided by other teens. If they’re successful, the charges against them are dropped.

Montgomery County was the first county in Maryland to start a teen court program. Since 1997, close to 4,000 cases have come through the court.