Salt Lake Peer Court began in the spring of 1993 as a collaboration between West High School and members of the Capitol Hill Community Council with critical support from the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office and the Salt Lake City Police Department. Pam Richardson Card, Capitol Hill Community Council Chairperson, spearheaded the new and innovative program. Pam and West High School Assistant Principal Teresa Piele hand-picked a group of student volunteers to give the program a strong start. Kathleen Zeitlin, who had formally worked as both a high school teacher and a juvenile probation officer, came on board as a volunteer.
Tragedy struck at the end of the first year when Pam Richardson Card suddenly passed away. A small group of adult volunteers (which included Kathleen Zeitlin, Kathy Hunt, Robin Webb, Marlu Gurr, and Hazel Horsfield) decided that Peer Court had to continue. For the next two years the volunteers worked together to continue Pam’s vision.
In 1996, Peer Court received its first large grant- from the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. The program expanded city-wide and came under the umbrella of Utah Law Related Education, a 501(c)(3) organization. Kathleen Zeitlin took on the role of Program Director; a position she would hold for 17 years.
Salt Lake Peer Court continues to be a key organization in our community. On average over 200 cases are processed annually. Volunteers contribute upwards of 10,000 hours of community service each year. Salt Lake Peer Court is currently funded by a variety of sources including: Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake City Police Department, Salt Lake City Corporation, Bastian Foundation, George and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Marriner S. Eccles Foundation, R. Harold Burton Foundation, Salt Lake Police Foundation, Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Utah Bar Foundation and Utah State Bar.