Monday, May 22, 2017


Introduced by Sen. Jeralita "Jeri" Costa (D) on January 31, 2001 Senate Bill 5692 was a directive to assist entities to create youth courts that have jurisdiction over certain offenses alleged to have been committed by juveniles between the ages of eight and seventeen. The bill outlines the conditions under which juveniles may participate in youth court. The Office of the Administrator for the Courts and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must encourage the courts and school districts, respectively, to work with cities, counties, and students to expand and implement youth courts.

As today's youth court students lobby to make changes to the bill I can't help but remember the many trips to Olympia with my youth court students who lobbied for the passage of the bill. Jennifer Gibson Hoople, Ann Jensen, Johannes Anderson were among the student leader's who were on a first name basis with many senators and representatives in Olympia by the time the bill was signed by then Governor Gary Locke on March 28, 2002.

Among my prized youth court possessions is the pen used by Governor Locke to sign the bill on that date.

Susan Gregory
Washington State Association of Youth Courts

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

WJF Newletter April, 2017

The Youth Court Road Show

By Margaret E. Fisher

Suddenly all these young people were wearing the same Youth Court Road Show t-shirt, highlighting the theme of this year’s statewide Youth Court Association Conference on November 12, 2016. Student president Kira Bloomenthal opened the conference and set the tone for an interactive session. With the gracious funding from the Washington Judges Foundation, the annual conference was attended by 75 adults and young people. 

On the Road with Cheney Firefighter Tim Steiner highlighted what happens to people in car crashes. He recruited a youth from the audience to demonstrate the neck brace, various breathing tubes, splints, and transport.

Washington State Association of Youth Courts Vice President elected Courtney Bell, Vice-President Terri Cooper and Kira Bloomenthal explored the Road to Legislation. The overall purpose was to launch legislative action to change existing RCWs governing youth courts, to expand coverage of what cases youth courts can hear. On February 20, 2017, this group met with legislators to draft a bill and move the legislative agenda forward. “Passport to Youth Courts” was one of the most popular activities. Each of the youth courts represented at the conference had created a poster with their logo, jurisdiction, court model, history and other information. Young persons visited each poster and learned about fellow youth courts, earning them a passport visa on their youth court passport.

Lake Forest Park Police Officer James Carswell along with his K-9 Hector demonstrated search techniques. It’s always hard to compete for popularity when there is an animal involved!  Following this, Bothell Youth Court demonstrated the use of expert witnesses in their youth court hearings. The Seattle Youth Traffic Court has followed Bothell’s lead and now has two Seattle police officers to testify in their traffic cases.

Former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Judith Billings, presented the Flame of Democracy Award from the Council on Public Legal Education to Judge Michelle Gehlsen, the director of the Bothell Youth Court and also judge partner in the Bothell Street Law program, funded by the Washington Judges Foundation.  Angelle Gerl, City of Cheney Prosecutor, and Courtney Bell, Gonzaga Law Extern, led the young people through hypotheticals to sharpen their questioning skills. At the same time Kelley Gradwahl from the Lake Forest Park Municipal Court led the coordinators in a discussion of current issues facing youth courts. The Black Hills High School Student Court Directors George Rother and Jen Kelly explained how their court worked with school rule violations. 

The entire day was inspiring and motivating, and the Association is so grateful for the funding that allows this group to meet.

WJF newsletter    Spring 2017

Monday, December 5, 2016


Lt. Timothy R. Steiner presented  the "Think First" program at the 2016 Annual WSAYC Conference at Seattle University School of Law.  This is what Tim had to say about being involved with youth court. "Thank you for inviting me to present.  I had so much fun with the students.  They have such great enthusiasm.  Events like these are always a great battery charger and make you want to get back to doing impactful things"  GREAT JOB TIM!

Monday, November 21, 2016


Welcome to Courtney!

Courtney is a Spokane, WA native, graduating from Mead High School in 2009. She attended the University of Washington where she majored in English Literature and in 2012 led the UW coalition of students supporting Rob McKenna for Governor. At UW she also participated in the Dream Project where she witnessed how relationships and mentoring can change the lives of young people.

After graduation Courtney was a staff member on a Washington State Senate campaign, and then in 2014 managed a campaign for State Representative. She then enrolled at Gonzaga University School of Law, where she is involved in the William O. Douglas Committee, which is a First Amendment club, the Women's Law Caucus, and the Student Bar Association. She was a legal intern at Wolff, Hislop & Crockett in Spokane Valley for a year and a half where she focused primarily on civil litigation work. Courtney was hired by the Prosecutor for the City of Cheney for a year-long externship in May of 2016, which is where she was first introduced to the concept of youth courts. She has since assisted with youth court hearings in Cheney and is excited to take the WSAYC to Olympia for a Youth Court Lobby Day.

In her free time she enjoys working at her family's cattle ranch, crafting, and spending time with friends and family.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Congratulations to Kira Bloomenthal from Bellevue Youth Court! The article on Bellevue Youth Court is in this month's NW Lawyer magazine - see page 44,

Kira has served as WSAYC Youth Vice-President and this year has moved up into the Youth President position.