Recap of the 2015 Southern Juvenile Defender Center Regional Summit, New Orleans, LA – June 5-6, 2015

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege of attending the 2015 SJDC Regional Summit. It was an opportunity to come together with colleagues from across the Southern states and participate in a one-of-a-kind program designed to empower defenders to fight implicit bias in the juvenile court system. The keynote presentation was given by Geoff Ward, Professor of Criminology, University of California at Irvine. Professor Ward discussed his research into violence and race. One of his latest research projects that he discussed focused on the legacies and history of racial violence in the South.

Another session that was offered focused on challenging identification testimony – including cross-racial identifications and best practices. As a reminder, NC passed an Eyewitness Identification Reform Act in 2007 that outlines the procedure that must take place. These procedures are outlined in §15A-284.52.

In addition to several other sessions discussing addressing race in the court room and ethical considerations in raising race, there were also many opportunities to interact with other juvenile defenders. It was incredibly valuable to exchange ideas and strategies.

Consider attending the National Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit this fall! Also, it’s likely that the 2016 SJDC Regional Summit will be held in Charlotte next year. More details to come…

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