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San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office

San Joaquin County Justice System Youth Leadership Academy

Every year, the San Joaquin County District Attorney, Public Defender, Superior Court and San Joaquin County Bar Association invite applications for the courtroom to school room, SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY JUSTICE SYSTEM YOUTH LEADERSHIP ACADEMY during the Summer.

For nearly 20 years, high school students from around San Joaquin County have had the excellent opportunity to learn about the Criminal Justice System through a program operated by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin.  

Open to all high school students, this program provides students with a unique learning experience — direct exposure to the justice system in operation. Students also have the opportunity to build professional and academic networks. Graduating from this program also looks great on your resume for college! 


Photo: YLA DenningsWhat are the dates of the 2019 program? 

The 2018 program ran June 11 – July 13. Please check back in Spring 2019 for dates.

What is the schedule? 

Classes are Monday through Friday - 8:30 a.m. to 12 Noon - attendance is critical.

What does the program entail?

There are four components to the curriculum:

Classroom instruction by justice system professionals, including criminal law and procedure, alcohol and traffic laws, career assessment tools, substance abuse, teen dating violence, domestic violence, child support laws, gangs, cyberbullying and social media, the long term importance of education and other relevant topics.

Mentorship: Students will be paired with a mentor in the justice system in an area of their interest to provide personal guidance and insight into careers within the justice system.

Court Observation: Students will also observe actual court proceedings, including, civil, criminal matters, drug, family law and DUI courts.

Field trips will include a tour of the county jail, a live swat demonstration and a visit with the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

Who participates in the program?

Last year, we had 31 students from 19 area high schools which included Lincoln, Linden, Lodi, Manteca, Stockton, and Tracy Unified School Districts, St. Mary’s High School and a student from Mountain House. This program is inclusive of all students, and is not limited by GPA performance. 

Is this program fun?

Students not only attended every day, they did not want the program to conclude. Many of them have stayed in close contact with us even to this day! 

How will I get there?

Bus passes will be available for those students who need them for transportation to and from the courthouse.

How many students can participate?

Space is extremely limited. Typically, 20-30 students are enrolled in the program. Preference is given to the students in the upper classes.

What is the application process?

The application below may be printed and submitted along with a reference letter from a teacher and/or counselor. You may also fill out the application online and send it to YLA@sjcda.org .

Who should I contact if I have any questions?

Please call the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office Communications Department at 209-468-2400 or email YLA@sjcda.org.

Additional Resources for Youth, Parents, and Schools

To invite members of our office to make a presentation to your class or community group, please check out our Speaker’s Bureau: https://www.sjgov.org/da/staff?id=25971

If you are interested in a volunteer internship position, please visit: https://www.sjgov.org/da/volunteers

To check out some of our videos and presentations on human trafficking and teen dating, visit: https://www.sjgov.org/da/videos


A special Thank You to Kay Recede from Fox40 News for providing this video!