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East Texas Teen Court

East Texas Teen Court

by Julie Alston, Municipal Judge -

City of Huntington and City of Zavalla

East Texas Teen Court has nearly ended its first year of hearing cases for local teenagers. It has been a great success, and we look forward to the future of teen court. In case you do not know, Teen Court has been approved by the Texas Legislature as an alternative way to handle Class C Misdemeanor cases involving teenagers. Our Teen Court meets once or twice a month, and over a dozen cases have been tried before teen juries, with local teenagers from Huntington, Zavalla, and Hudson high schools acting as jurors and as prosecutors and defense attorneys.

There is extensive training for the Teen Court participants before acting as “attorneys” in these cases. We appreciate Judge Clyde Herrington, Judge of the County Court-at-Law #2 for Angelina County, Al Charanza, a local defense attorney, Chief Chris Wade of the Zavalla Police Department, the Huntington Police Department, and the cities and high schools of Huntington and Zavalla for their help in the training program.

East Texas Teen Court also awarded 6 scholarships for college or further education this year to high school seniors from Huntington and Zavalla. The Huntington scholarship recipients are Dominique Burnett and Kennedi Smith. The Zavalla scholarship recipients are Allison Belue, Kassidi Myers, Lauren Oliver, and Lesley Sallas.

Scholarships were funded with generous donations from the following people and businesses:

Cassels & Reynolds Law Firm

Denita Ross, Ross Fabrics

Huntington State Bank

Susan Ward, Attorney at Law

Sandra Martin, Assistant District Attorney

Cary Kirby, Angelina County Attorney

Chris Wade, Zavalla Chief of Police

Deaton Law Firm

Aimee Cloutier, Teen Court Coordinator

Carlos & Carolyn Guzman, Blueberry Bogg

Judge Clyde Herrington

Judge Bob Inselmann

Tom Derryberry

Anonymous Donor

We held an East Teen Court Banquet on May 5, 2018. Special thanks to Bro. Lamar Denby and the Highway Missionary Baptist Church for allowing us to host the banquet at their church. We also had generous donations for food and items for the banquet from the following people and businesses:

Dean’s Meat Market

Brookshire Brothers

Massingill’s Meat Market

Choice Cut Meat Market


Walter Cooper

Chief Chris Wade

Sonic Drive-in

We also want to thank Todd Dillon, Assistant District Attorney for Angelina County, who was the special speaker at the banquet. And I especially want to thank our Teen Court Coordinator, Aimee Cloutier, for the countless hours she has spent to make East Texas Teen Court a success.

If you are a high school student in Huntington or Zavalla, or the parent of a student, please consider volunteering to be a Teen Court participant this year. You might be surprised at how much fun you can have and how much you can learn from this program. Again, thank you to all the citizens, students, and businesses that have made this year’s Teen Court a great success.

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