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HCC’s Criminal Justice Technology students participated in a mock juvenile disposition hearing in department head Gary R. Redding’s Juvenile Justice class.

Student attorney Matthew Winstead represented 17-year-old Jeff Taylor, and student attorney Thomas Lynch represented the state of North Carolina.

Taylor, played by HCC student Jordan Walker, was previously arrested and charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. 

Taylor’s juvenile court counselor established a diversion contract with him as a result of this complaint.

After violating his diversion contract by not attending school regularly, his juvenile court counselor filed a juvenile petition with the two allegations in juvenile court.

Taylor appeared in court and made an admission to the acts of delinquency.

During the mock juvenile disposition hearing, Winstead and Lynch provided opening and closing statements, questioned witnesses on direct and cross-examination, and examined evidentiary exhibits.

Winstead argued for Taylor to receive community service, academic tutoring and enrollment in a summer wilderness program. 

Lynch responded that Taylor should be required to complete probation, community service, academic tutoring, and pay restitution.

Redding, who played the juvenile court judge, ruled that Taylor was required to complete community service and academic tutoring at his school, pay restitution, and attend the summer wilderness program. 

After a subsequent outburst in court from Taylor, Redding added probation.

HCC’s chief of police, Emmett Smith, testified as the police officer and complimented the students on their preparedness.

HCC’s communication instructor Ellen Divens testified as Taylor’s high school principal and congratulated the students on their public speaking skills and passion.

Dr. Mary Stephenson testified as Taylor’s foster parent and praised the students for their presentation skills and compassion.

Clarence High, a former chief juvenile court counselor, testified as a juvenile court counselor and commended the students for their advocacy skills and professionalism.