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Sixteen-year-old Detroiter Helps Keep Youth Out Of The Court System As Teen Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Age ain’t nothing but a number for one juvenile defense attorney out of Motor City.

Cayden Brown

Sixteen-year-old Detroiter Cayden Brown launched an online media platform that hosts open discussions on social issues. He essentially started a nonprofit to serve underrepresented communities, serving as a teen juvenile defense attorney, according to Detroit Metro Times.

Feeling that law is the biggest way to create change, Brown heard about the Oakland County Teen Court and was eager to get involved. The program’s main purpose is to keep juveniles out of the court system. It is “designed around the philosophy that a jury of one’s peers is more influential in dealing with behavioral problems than any other method." Teen Court utilizes teen attorneys as well as jurors who have been taught about the court system to analyze cases.

“Adults don’t understand things the same way that we understand things, it’s a different time,” Brown says. “Being put in front of people who are a true jury of your peers is beneficial to make sure that you get the justice you deserve and are entitled.”

Teen Court defendants are first-time offenders who have been found guilty already, but through the program, the juvenile’s record can be wiped to a clean slate.

“I actually analyze the cases, fight the cases, I do all of it by myself,” Brown says. “There are mentors there, there’s a real judge, too. It’s just like a real court, but they allow the students to play all of those roles.”

Enter Oakland County’s 52-1 District Court, which is one of the three participating courts piloting the program. Aside from granting young folks such as Brown a chance to get involved in the community, statistics have backed up the notion that places utilizing Teen Court as a part of their youth crime prevention program consistently report that 90% or more of the defendants who complete the sentence are never re-arrested, thankfully, according to Detroit Metro Times.

“All of the cases I was assigned, I was able to win each and every one, and that just shows how dedicated I am to the cause,” Brown says. “I’m inspiring kids who are my age to be able to do things that were often told we have to wait to do it. I’m gonna make a change right now.”

Brown is thinking long-term, as his goal in the future is to attend law school to eventually become a civil rights attorney.


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