Eric was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1992. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1996, and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1997. After working for the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission and the Research Division of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Eric joined the staff of the Public Defender’s Office in Greensboro in February 1999. As an assistant public defender, Eric practiced exclusively in juvenile delinquency court and involuntary commitment court.
Eric was appointed state Juvenile Defender by the Indigent Defense Services Commission in November 2004 and has served since then. The mission of the Office of the Juvenile Defender is to provide services and support to defense attorneys, to evaluate and improve the system of representation, to elevate the stature of juvenile delinquency representation, and to work with other juvenile justice actors to promote positive change in the juvenile justice system. Eric served as Director of the Southern Juvenile Defender Center from September 2010 through September 2014, providing resources and support for juvenile defenders in seven southeastern states. In 2013 Eric was among the first class board certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist in criminal law- juvenile delinquency. Eric received the Robert E. Shepard Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense from the National Juvenile Defender Center in October 2013. He was recognized as a Defender of Justice by the North Carolina Justice Center in 2018 and the North Carolina Bar Association Juvenile Justice Section Children’s Champion in 2019. Eric lives in Raleigh with his wife Becky and two daughters Rachel and Camille.
Prior to joining The Office of the Juvenile Defender, Kim Howes had been in private practice since 2011. Her practice focused on the representation of children involved in juvenile delinquency matters and adult criminal defense. She also worked part time with The Child’s Advocate, a nonprofit organization that represents children involved in high conflict custody cases, as well as children who have been victims or witnesses in criminal matters. Kim most recently co-wrote and co-edited the North Carolina Bar Association’s North Carolina General Practice Deskbook, Vol. 3, Criminal Law, Juvenile Proceedings – Delinquency section. It is scheduled to be published in early 2015. Kim has recently presented at The Child’s Advocate CLE training, “How to Represent a Child in a High Conflict Custody Case.”
Currently, she is a volunteer attorney with Teen Court in Wake County and participates in the WCBA Lawyers in Schools program. Before starting her practice, Kim practiced in the area of family law. Kim graduated from UNC School of Law in 2010. While in law school, Kim was an intern with The Child’s Advocate and The Office of the Juvenile Defender where she worked extensively on the Youth Development Center Commitment Project. She also participated in the UNC Juvenile Justice Clinic under the third year practice rule. Prior to attending law school, her career focused on child advocacy from a holistic and public policy perspective working at Prevent Child Abuse NC and The NC Child Advocacy Institute (currently NC Child) with emphasis on education, juvenile justice, and child abuse and neglect.
Kim is available to provide technical assistance to Juvenile Defenders through individualized case consultations, legal research and providing draft motions for your office. Periodically you may see her in juvenile court in your district as she continues to get to know defenders across the state. You will also be receiving emails from her about statewide defender calls as well as networking opportunities with other juvenile defenders across the state such as the informal lunches that have been hosted for juvenile defenders at the Spring Conference.
Kim can be reached by email here.
Austine joined the Office of the Juvenile Defender in September 2019. Previously she worked as a Program Attorney for the Indigent Defense Education division at the School of Government, where she designed trainings for public defenders and private attorneys appointed to represent indigent clients. Prior to joining the School of Government, she worked as the drug court manager and coordinator for the Montgomery County Circuit Court Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts in Maryland. She has served as a project director at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), where she managed multiple federal projects and provided training for drug court professionals nationally. As an assistant public defender for the 14th Judicial District in Durham, NC, she practiced exclusively in the juvenile delinquency and DSS courts. Austine was also a member of the implementation team for the family drug treatment court in Durham, NC. For seven years, she was in private practice focusing on juvenile, family, and criminal law, and served as the defense attorney for clients in family, juvenile and adult drug courts for over five years.
In her spare time, Austine works with special needs youth and young adults to teach life skills, which she also did while attending law school. She graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she participated in the Family Law Clinic. During her second semester of the clinic, she was the student supervisor for the first semester clinic students. Prior to law school, Austine worked for Pre-trial Services in Washington, DC, where she was born and raised. Her early career focused on customer service in the health care industry.
Austine plans juvenile delinquency trainings for jurisdictions throughout the state. She also is focused on developing resources to support juvenile defenders in their court practice. You may see her in juvenile court in your county as she engages with juvenile defenders to assess their resource and training needs.
If she is not loving on her fur babies and spending time with her family and friends, you will find her soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach somewhere in the world.
Austine can be reached by email here.
LaTobia joined the Office of the Juvenile Defender in September 2019. Prior to joining the office, she worked in the private sector as a Supervisor for AT&T Business Customer Service. Originally from Washington D.C., she has traveled the world as a self-described Army Brat and settled in Greensboro, North Carolina where she attended and graduated from North Carolina A&T with her B.A. in English in 2011. She grew up reading books ranging from sci-fi to self-help and found that her passion was deciphering the meaning behind the words she read. Interestingly enough, she wanted to study entertainment law before changing her mind at the last minute.
In 2019, LaTobia graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with her Masters in Communication, with a focus in Public Relations. Her passion for all things communication, she honed her skills through social media management and analytics, studying how to bridge the gap between the audience and the speaker. She worked as a brand manager for an upcoming clothing line and also provided consultation on social media strategies to small businesses. After graduating, she knew she wanted to make a career out of PR and found her way to the Office of the Juvenile Defender, which directly relates to her desire to help kids have the best life they can, no matter their upbringing or troubles.
LaTobia hopes to expand on her skills in communication and social media through her work at OJD and beyond. When she’s not conquering the social media world, shes snuggled up with her Aussie, Bella, good dose of retail therapy or a book.