Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Bothell Youth Court has created two interesting innovations in the youth court hearing process - the use of expert witnesses and the restorative circle for deliberations. Three officers - two with the fire department and one with the local police department rotate serving as expert witnesses at the youth court hearings. In each case, the prosecutor calls the expert and solicits other situations that the officer is aware of that have had a variety of consequences.

For example, in the case on June 8, Deputy Chief/Fire Marshall Frank Shasky described other instances in which he investigated aggressive driving maneuvers. Having the expert to testify provides a live perspective on the potential consequences of bad driving.

The Youth Court has also adopted a restorative circle, rather than the traditional jury deliberations. The jury comes out of the jury box and sits in a circle with all the advocates, the respondent, and the expert. This is done publicly in court so that the people in the courtroom can observe. Together the circle members explore and decide upon what will be required. The respondent has input into the outcome and has a chance to clarify or correct things.