New Report: “Restoring Justice: A Blueprint for Ensuring Fairness, Safety, and Supportive Treatment of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System,”

This week the Equity Project and the Center for American Progress released “Restoring Justice: A Blueprint for Ensuring Fairness, Safety, and Supportive Treatment of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System,” by Aisha C. Moodie-Mills and Christina Gilbert.

This issue brief highlights existing and effective provisions of policies related to treating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in the juvenile justice system with dignity and respect, while providing a framework and sample language to assist the federal government and other jurisdictions in developing and adopting their own policies and guidance.  Given the over-representation of LGBT youth in the juvenile justice system and the discriminatory and harmful treatment they often face, the brief also underscores the critical need for jurisdictions to incorporate training and culture shifts in their efforts to effectuate change through the implementation of comprehensive non-discrimination policies.

You can see the full brief on the Center for American Progress website here: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2014/12/17/103488/restoring-justice

Or download the pdf version HERE.

Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases – A Useful Tool in Delinquency Court

Very recently the UNC School of Government released Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases, a reference manual authored by Alyson Grine and Emily Coward.  Although intended for defense counsel in adult criminal cases, there is much included that is helpful to juvenile defenders as well.  For example, the Chapter 1 clearly lays out the history of race in the criminal justice system, and be sure to check out Judge Louis Trosch’s person revelations in juvenile delinquency court on pages I-8 and I-9. Chapter 2 addresses Race and Police Investigations.  This chapter should be of particular interest to juvenile defenders representing clients charged in school settings, as more and more School Resource Officers (SROs) interact daily with youth and frequently are the first source to gather information or evidence. Although sentencing in adult court and disposition hearings in delinquency court can be very different, be sure to check out Chapter 9 on Sentencing, especially Section 9.4 on Effective Sentencing Advocacy.  This section has some great ideas that juvenile defenders can apply in dispositional advocacy.  Lastly, Chapter 10 provides a wealth of information on different sources of materials on race, include referring to OJD’s Addressing Disproportionate Contact (DMC) in Juvenile Delinquency Court,  http://www.ncids.org/JuvenileDefender/Guides/AddressingMinorityContact.pdf.

You can find Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases  here: http://defendermanuals.sog.unc.edu/defender-manual/16.

Vetting Experts – A Wake-Up Call

Forensic Science in North Carolina

A recent meeting with a supposed forensic psychology expert reminded me of the importance of attorneys always vetting their own experts. This individual was referred to me by another trusted expert. After our initial meeting, I started looking in to his credentials and quickly learned that he did not have a Ph.D. and was not licensed to practice in North Carolina. His claim that he testified in a high-profile case was untrue, and he did not have the work experience that he claimed to have.

It only took a few phone calls to uncover this information, and it was a reminder of how important it is to verify the credentials of experts. Even if an expert comes recommended by a trusted attorney or expert, the attorney hiring the expert must vet the expert herself. Some attorneys think that experts listed in the IDS Database of Experts are approved by IDS. This is…

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