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Independence Youth Court


Twenty-two students from four Independence schools were sworn in as attorneys for Independence Youth Court on November 18, and Eric Van Fleet, a senior at Truman High School, was named Presiding Judge for 2009-10.

A graduation ceremony in Municipal Court Chambers followed several weeks of study and testing for the students. The Honorable Stephen Nixon, Presiding Judge of Jackson County, addressed the students and presented certificates.

Students named attorneys included 13 eighth graders from Bingham and Pioneer Ridge Middle Schools and nine high school students from Truman and William Chrisman. They join other high school students who already serve the court.

From Bingham, Sadie Carlton, Matt Copeland, Teah Gentry, Austin Gragg, Brittany Pangelinan, Leda Rivera, Seirra Schmitz and Elizabeth Snow will now participate in the Youth Court program. From Pioneer Ridge, Mercedes Corrall, Kassi Ethington, Alex Harris, Merces James and Vincent Seutter, will also act as attorneys. From Truman, Colin Bell, Matthew Greenburg, Alisha Miller, Allie Schlotman and Zachariah Taylor will be attorneys. From William Chrisman, David Daniel, Danielle Dickerson, Alexis Kent and Bobby Ketchum will be new attorneys.

Van Fleet has participated as a Youth Court attorney for five years.

The Independence Youth Court, one of the oldest in the nation, was founded in 1986, and it has served as a model for many other Youth Court programs around the nation. Teenagers serve as judges and attorneys for their peers, under the guidance of Judge Susan Watkins, for Independence Municipal Court.