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Dakota County's juvenile offenders can opt for jury of peers

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) -- A juvenile peer court offers an alternative for young offenders in Dakota County. More than 700 juveniles have been referred to the court since it was created 12 years ago. The county attorney's office recommends juveniles...

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) -- A juvenile peer court offers an alternative for young offenders in Dakota County.

More than 700 juveniles have been referred to the court since it was created 12 years ago. The county attorney's office recommends juveniles to the program if they are not a danger to society, they are first time offenders and the offenses are minor.

Teen juries in Dakota County do not decide guilt or innocence, only a sentence. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Daniel Altrich was one teen who wiped his offenses off his record by participating in the program. He was sentenced to 15 hours of community service, $150 in restitution and ordered to write an apology letter as well as serve as a juror for his crimes of property damage and reckless driving.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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