Buffalo / Pepin County Teen Court


The mission of the Buffalo/Pepin County Teen Court is to join together as a council of  professional and community members to find ways to enhance positive youth and family development in both counties. The Teen Court will serve to modify behavior of youthful, first-time offenders by combining positive peer pressure and involvement within our counties, families, schools, and religious organizations to promote youth development and restorative justice.

The Honorable Tom Clark helped train new Teen Court peer judges at their training on April 12, 2019 at the Buffalo County Courthouse.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, teen panelists conducted hearings virtually, modifying approach yet maintaining privacy for all youth and their families.

2020 teen court panelists were trained in restorative justice practices via Zoom and participated in a mock virtual hearing to prepare for their first cases.


Learn more about Buffalo / Pepin  County Teen Court:

Teen Court Resource Hub

Teen Court Brochure


2021 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2020 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2019 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2018 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2017 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2016 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2015 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2014 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report

2013 Buffalo-Pepin County Teen Court Annual Report 


What is Teen Court?

Teen Court offers eligible youth an alternative to appearing in Juvenile Court.  They have an opportunity to receive a meaningful consequence from a jury of their peers.

Why a Teen Court?

Teen Court offers eligible youth an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions.  It provides positive peer pressure with community based consequences.

Who is eligible?

The Buffalo/Pepin County Teen Court will serve youth ages 10-16 years who commit first time violations of offenses such as:

  • Disorderly Conduct
  • No Valid Driver’s License
  • Damage to Property/Vandalism
  • Shoplifting/Retail Theft
  • Trespassing
  • DNR/Park Offenses, Littering, Curfew, or ATV violations
  • Possession of Alcohol, Tobacco or  Marijuana
  • Truancy
  • Unlawful Use of a Telephone

Referrals for Teen Court will come from the Court, Law Enforcement, Schools or Human Services.

How Does Teen Court Operate?

  1.  The offender appears before a panel of three to five teen judge panelists.
  2. Panelists will be from a local school district, excluding the offender’s school.
  3. Panelists have received specialized training in court procedures.
  4. A parent or legal guardian is required to attend the session with the offender.
  5. Offender must admit the violation offense.
  6. Panelists discuss the offense with the offender to determine why the offense occurred and determine the most effective consequences.
  7. Panelists may question parents.
  8. Panelists decide the consequences which may include essays, community service, apology letter or other innovative sanctions.
  9. A coordinator monitors the offender’s performance of the sentencing guidelines.
  10. Offender pays a small fee towards the cost of Teen Court.
  11. All procedures are confidential.
  12. If offender successfully completes the work, the case is closed without the offender receiving a conviction record.
  13. If offender is unsuccessful in completing sentence the offender will be returned to the referring agency.

 Who benefits from Teen Court?

  • Youth are given an opportunity for a real second chance to prove that  mistakes can be turned into positive choices.   When juvenile offenders  successfully complete their Teen Court sentence, they will have their case dismissed.
  • The juvenile becomes responsible for his/her actions.
  • Community service-learning  projects will be more meaningful to the youth and their respective communities.
  • The community is able to see teens  being held accountable for their actions.
  • Teen judge panelists gain a sense of responsibility and they encourage peers to stop behaviors that reflect all teens.  They also have the opportunity to  participate in the juvenile justice system and examine possible career opportunities.
  • Adult volunteers are given the  opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our youth.


Buffalo / Pepin Teen Court Public Service Announcement – Click on the Photo Below

Direct Referral Information for Buffalo & Pepin County School Districts and Law Enforcement Agencies:

Direct Referral Guidelines & Process

Direct Referral Form

For additional information about Buffalo/Pepin County Teen Court please contact Teen Court Coordinators:

Annie Lisowski                                        Marie Ritscher

Teen Court Co-Coordinator                       Teen Court Co-Coordinator

4-H Youth Development Educator             4-H Youth Development Educator

Extension Buffalo County                           Extension Pepin County

Buffalo County Courthouse                        Pepin County Governmental Center

407 S. 2nd St                                              740  7th Avenue W

PO Box 276                                                 PO Box 39

Alma, WI 54610                                           Durand, WI 54736

Voice: 608-685-6256                                   Voice: 715-672-5214

annie.lisowski@wisc.edu                            marie.ritscher@wisc.edu