“The Allegany County Public Defender’s Office is dedicated to the full and fair representation of all persons in our community who cannot afford legal counsel and are in danger of being deprived of a liberty interest or fundamental right due to a criminal accusation or other statutorily defined state action.
It is the goal of the Public Defender’s Office to protect every client’s constitutional rights and to defend against discriminatory treatment, disproportionate punishment or unjust consequences. We strive to protect the fundamental rights, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to us by providing effective and competent legal representation.
We are committed to providing mandated legal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner while holding ourselves to the highest professional and ethical standards.”
Allegany County Youth Court
Youth Courts are one of the fastest growing programs in the community justice movement. In 2004 there are over 540 active Youth Court Programs throughout the United States. These programs embrace restitution and community service, two common forms of community or restorative justice, within their sentencing guidelines. In addition, Youth Courts send to the community and its youth a strong message that young people do not support law-breaking behavior.
Positive peer pressure plays a major role in our Court hearings at the Belmont Courthouse as juvenile defendants must explain their conduct to Allegany County students who serve as Judge, Bailiff, Defense, Prosecution, Jury Foreperson, and Jury. These student Youth Court members know the circumstances of life in Allegany County and provide thoughtful and appropriate sentences in each individual case. When youth participate in the Youth Court process either as defendants or volunteers they develop valuable skills that will help them become more responsible and productive citizens. Several of our Youth Court defendants that go through our program actually end up joining as Youth Court members once their sanctions have been completed successfully.
Youth Court provides and immediate response to mostly first time offenses that may be warning signs of future serious or violent delinquency. This early intervention also offers the defendant a second chance to make amends for his/her offense before being entered into the family/criminal court system, acquiring a record, paying Court fees, and being given the “juvenile delinquent” label.
The Allegany County Youth Court Director Sabrena Beaten can be reached at: