Seattle Youth Traffic Court (Youth Court) is a diversion process in which Garfield High School students conduct monthly hearings and sentence their peers who have committed actual traffic infractions within Seattle city limits. Youth who complete their sentences have their tickets dismissed, and no report is made to the Department of Licensing.

How it works

  • Garfield students serve as judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jury, and court staff
  • The court conducts up to eight hearings once per month at Seattle Municipal Court
  • Dispositions generally include service on future youth court juries.
  • Garfield student defense attorneys counsel defendants to ensure compliance.
  • Youth Court is part of the Seattle University Youth Initiative, a long-term commitment by Seattle University faculty, staff, and students from all disciplines to join with parents, the Seattle School District, the City of Seattle, foundations, and more than 30 community organizations to help children of our immediate neighborhood succeed in school and life.

Student U Law student responsibilities

  • Develop policies
  • Provide training
  • Help Garfield students prepare cases
  • Manage the cases and assist with hearings
  • Coordinate with Seattle Municipal Court


  • Learn about civil procedure and traffic-related laws.
  • Develop leadership skills through program management and youth mentorship.
  • Get experience collaborating with diverse stakeholders, including youth, teachers, and judges.
  • Hone your legal skills by managing court processes.
  • Develop grant writing, systems creation, and policymaking skills.


  • You must commit two to four hours per week, with hearings and trainings to be held at a regular time and day on Mondays.
  • Hearings occur once monthly on the third or fourth Monday of the month.
  • Trainings occur the first or second Monday of the month.
  • Food is served at all sessions.


Margaret Fisher

Margaret Fisher

Director, Seattle Youth Traffic Court program

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 Sullivan Hall 410

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Contact us

Access to Justice Institute
901 12th Avenue
Sullivan Hall Suite 313
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
Phone: 206-398-4173
Fax: 206-398-4077

Meet the ATJI Team