Qadir Bilal strode confidently to the witness stand, in his colorful bow tie and crisp black shirt and trousers. He paused. He fixed his gaze on the person before him, a young woman who had been caught in possession of marijuana – and who, like 16-year-old Qadir, is in high school.

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Attorney Tatum Brooks

McCullum Youth Court, a student-run justice system in Oakland for first-time middle and high school-age offenders, turns 17 this Friday. That makes it older than many of the young people who serve as its lawyers, bailiffs, and clerks. But instead of a birthday party, Youth Court organizers are scrambling to invite as many people as possible to a different type of event—a fundraiser.

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