Just in case you missed it, during the last statewide juvenile defender call for 2016, Eric Zogry addressed recent updates with the Raise the Age bill, our new ideas for improving communications statewide, and alternatives to probation.
In regards to Raise the Age, the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice had their final meeting. One of the key recommendations was to raise of the age of juvenile jurisdiction for 16 and 17 year olds, and Chief Justice Mark Martin stated that this initiative would be a priority for the 2017 legislative session. The N.C. Sheriff’s Association, a former major opponent to the bill, is now in support of the RTA legislation after some changes were made in the proposal and some strong efforts to communicate the impact of the bill by commission and subcommittee members.
With the growing effort to improve communications with juvenile defenders, Marcus Thompson, the new communications and office manager, was brought on board to the OJD team. Marcus introduced himself and briefly discussed building a regular presence for the office on Twitter, maintenance of the OJD website, and his plans to distribute a survey in January to gather more information about what juvenile defenders statewide think should be done about communications from our office. He also extended an invitation for defenders to offer ideas about the blog.
Finally, Eric opened the discussion to gather defenders’ thoughts about alternatives to probation. Suggestions about informal deferrals, moving to bring in mitigation experts, referring cases back to intake court counselors, and scrutiny of risk and needs assessment were all brought up.