In a ceremony on Monday at the Homer Courthouse, 14 new attorneys and six new judges were sworn in for the West Homer Elementary School / Fireweed Academy division of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Court.
Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet administered the oath of office to the attorneys and judges. Youth court director Ginny Espenshade introduced the new group and handed out certificates. The attorneys and judges all had to take a youth court bar exam to become members. Espenshade noted that representatives of all three branches of government attended: Huguelet and Homer District Court Judge Margaret Murphy for the judicial branch, Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Dan Cox, Homer Police Lt. Will Hutt, Homer Police Sgt. Ryan Browning and Homer Police Jail Officer Rick Pitta for the executive branch, and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, for the legislative branch.
The elementary school youth court sometimes adminsters justice for students charged with school code violations. Students also learn about the judicial system and participate in mock trials. Students in middle school and high school also serve on the Kenai Peninsula Youth Court and consider cases involving underage drinking for minors age 17 and younger and for some juvenile criminal cases.