Here you will find a short report on the activities and initiatives of the Office of the Juvenile Defender in 2015. Thanks to the defenders for your hard, critical work, and thanks to everyone for a great 2015!
The Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice is seeking a Project Director. For more information, please click here.
Tips on the Juvenile Code Reform: Part 3 – Juvenile Confinement
Over the last two months, we have been blogging about the new Juvenile Code Reform law (sometimes referred to as House Bill 879, or Session Law 2015-58). The law is effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2015. The three blogs will track the three Parts of the law: Due Process Changes, Reduce Further Entry, and Juvenile Confinement. This is the third of the three blogs. Each blog will provide a brief overview of the new law, but focus on tips for juvenile defenders. Other materials will be linked as appropriate.
Part III, Juvenile Confinement, makes the following changes and additions to the Juvenile Code:
- Section 3.1: Amends NCGS 7B-1903 in two parts:
- by providing that after adjudication prior to disposition, or after disposition pending placement, further hearings to determine the need for continued secure custody shall be held every 10 calendar days, but can be waived for no more than 30 calendars only with the consent of the juvenile through juvenile’s counsel. The order for continued secure custody must be in writing with appropriate findings of fact.
- by providing that if there is need for a medical or psychiatric evaluation of the juvenile, the juvenile is under 10 years old and doesn’t have a pending delinquency case, law enforcement shall not use physical restraints unless the restraints are reasonably necessary for the safety of the officer, authorized transporter or the juvenile.
- Section 3.2: Amends NCGS 7B-2506(12) and (20) by adding that the court shall determine the timing and imposition of intermittent confinement.
Here are tips defenders should consider in representing clients under the new law:
- Secure Custody:
- Defense counsel should request specific findings when the court continues a juvenile in secure custody pending disposition or placement to ensure compliance with the statue.
- Defense counsel should always request a hearing within 10 calendar days, and should not waive hearings unless in the most limited, necessary circumstances, or by specific request of the juvenile.
- Defense counsel should be mindful of disposition orders directing intermittent confinement, checking that the days and times are specifically designated by the court.
- Defense counsel should ensure that any violation resulting in intermittent confinement emanate from a motion for review and providing notice and hearing prior to the activation of “stayed days.”