56 September/October 2014 | BethesdaMagazine.com
I first got involved in Teen Court
when I was a prosecutor in the mid-
1990s. We wanted to take these kids,
these respondents, who are in trouble,
and have a court procedure where they’re
judged by their peers and then they themselves become jurors. We wanted to shift
something in their minds, and that was
from becoming one of the problem kids
to one of the problem solvers and one of
the constructive kids.
We’ve had 4,700 kids as respondents
and, by now, around 3,000 volunteers,
and many of our volunteers come back. S K I P
Katherine Savage, 69, youth advocate and retired associate judge
for the Montgomery County Circuit Court
As told to Jacob Bogage
About three years ago, a young man
landed at my doorstep as a candidate to
be my law clerk. He said, “Oh, I remember you, Judge Savage from Teen Court.”
Of course, that was a very smart thing
to say in an interview to be my law clerk.
Lo and behold, he got hired and he was
wonderful. Here he had gone from Teen
Court in high school, to college, to law
school, to my law clerk. I was so proud of
him, and now he is doing very, very well
at one of the local law firms.
This past March it was 17 years [from]
when we did our first Teen Court case.
When I first started working in juvenile
court as a prosecutor, I realized how vulnerable these children were and how ripe
they were for intervention. I loved working with the kids, even though I was prosecuting them.
I was a prosecutor for about 10 years
in the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, and then I ran [success-fully] for district court judge in 1997.
In 2000, I started to work exclusively in
juvenile court, and then in 2002 our juvenile court became a part of the circuit
court, so I ran to be a circuit court judge.