Students who reside in the Town of Amherst and are looking for an up close
perspective on criminal proceedings in Amherst Town Court should consider applying for a position in Amherst Youth Court.
The panel of high schoolers, selected from students recommended by the school they attend, receive extensive training and a unique perspective on their peers who make poor choices and end up caught in the criminal justice system.
Robert Giancarlo, an 11th grade student attending Sweet Home High School, is the only Sweet Home student currently a member of Amherst Youth Court. Giancarlo was recommended to the court by a former teacher and completed the application process and formal training program the summer before he entered high school.
According to Giancarlo, the training is “fantastic and run by an experienced Amherst police officer, students even had the chance to train at the Amherst Police firing range.”
Although the son of two attorneys, Robert has no plans to become an attorney himself. Nevertheless, he enjoys crafting arguments and helping out his peers in need of a fresh start by serving as a member of the defense.
The Youth Court has the authority to hear and make recommendations regarding misdemeanors only.
“During my tenure on the panel, all cases brought before Youth Court have involved shoplifting allegations.” Giancarlo states, drawing back on his memory. According to Robert, many individuals are supported in the courtroom by a mother, not a father. Giancarlo finds this particularly poignant.
If you live in the Amherst part of the Sweet Home district and you would like to learn more about Youth Court, contact Detective Mark Pitirri, who heads the program, or visit the Amherst Youth Court website. It is a worthwhile and respected activity.
Written by Eve Giancarlo, Edited by Joey Bastian