OJD Week In Review: August 12-16 School Justice Partnership Summit (SJP)

School Justice Partnership (SJP) logo

Chief Justice Beasley and Governor Cooper Announce School Justice Partnership Initiative

This past Monday Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, Governor Roy Cooper, and public officials from across the state representing schools, law enforcement, courts and juvenile justice joined together in Guilford County to announce the official release of the School Justice Partnership (SJP) Toolkit. The SJP Toolkit is a collaborative resource for stakeholder meetings to address offenses emanating from school behavior that are processed in the juvenile and criminal court system . For more information click here.

MORE INFORMATION/OTHER LINKS

 

Watch this clip from Monday’s Safety Summit

www.nccourts.gov/news/tag/press-release/watch-live-Monday-Chief-Justice-Beasley-and-Governor-Cooper-to-announce-official-statewide-release-of-school-justice-partnership-toolkit.

IDS and OJD in the the Bar Journal

barjournal

The Office of Indigent Defense Services, including the Office of the Juvenile Defender, were featured in the Fall 2019 edition of the North Carolina State Bar Journal.

Sign Up Now To Receive Updates About Supreme Courts Rules

www.nccourts.gov/news/tag/press-release/sign-up-now-to-receive-updates-about-supreme-court-rules

OJD Week In Review: August 5-9, Short But Sweet

It’s August, and things can get a little slow at OJD, but we do have a few highlights for you.  Hope to see folks at the Annual Conference today!

Tip of the Week

Transcript of Admission Tips 

Filling out a transcript of admission on any admission of a new offense is important for several reasons.  It memorializes the record of admission in writing if subject to an appeal.  Reviewing the transcript with your client helps your client better understand the admission and the rights s/he is asserting or waiving.  Make sure you complete the transcript with your client present and do so in a confidential space. Consider making a copy of the transcript to keep at the attorney table to help your client answer questions.  Stand with your client when the court asks your client the listed questions and be prepared to confer with your client if any issues arise.

If you missed it, check out out Guest Blogger: David Andrews, Office of the Appellate Defender

David Andrews



Also, if you haven’t, check out IDS’ Facebook page, full of great information, in particular the personal testimonies of public defenders, and follow IDS on Twitter.

                                       new ids logo

 



Guest Blogger: David Andrews, Office of the Appellate Defender

Any Given Sunday  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t watch a lot of football.  The games are long and there’s that persistent risk of concussion.  But a phrase you sometimes hear with football – “any given Sunday” – has a ring to it.  During any particular game, the underdog could surprise everyone and upset a higher-ranked team.  So it is with the law.  The Supreme Court of North Carolina issues opinions once or month or once every two months, but always on a Friday.  And, so, on any given Friday, a defendant or a juvenile could surprise everyone and come out on top.  The Court of Appeals issues opinions on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.  So, you know, “any given Tuesday.”  But how do you get to a point where an upset is possible?  One way is through motions.  Over the past several months, my colleagues and I at the Office of the Appellate Defender (“OAD”) have been working with attorneys at the Office of the Juvenile Defender (“OJD”), the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, and Prisoner Legal Services on sample motions for various issues.  You can find these motions on the OAD and OJD websites.  The motions are designed in part to preserve legal arguments and, thus, to achieve that unexpected win on appeal.  However, they also serve to educate judges and lawyers about specific legal issues.  And who knows? One or more of the motions might win in trial court.  One set of motions involves the new offenses of making a false report of mass violence on educational property and communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property.  The motions involve various free speech arguments.  From the outside, free speech arguments can seem complicated.  But have no fear – these motions provide case law and a roadmap for asserting free speech claims.  Another motion lays out an argument that the State should be required to give notice if it intends to seek a higher disposition on the ground that the juvenile committed the offense while on probation and then prove that the juvenile was on probation beyond a reasonable doubt.  Juveniles are entitled to the same notice as adults.  In addition, the State is required to prove every fact necessary to constitute the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), sentencing enhancements in criminal cases are treated as elements that the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  The same logic should arguably apply to delinquency cases.  Finally, there is a batch a motions that all involve extending Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) to some of its logical conclusions.  For example, there is a motion arguing that the mandatory transfer of first-degree murder cases to adult court is unconstitutional. If judges are required to take youth into account before imposing an LWOP sentence, they should be required to do so before transferring the case to adult court.  Another motion argues that the threshold for imposing the death penalty and mandatory LWOP sentences should be extended from 18- to 25-years old.  Miller was premised on research into adolescent brain development.  And, so, if that same research indicates that the adolescent brain does not finish maturing until the mid-20s, then the law should reflect that research, as well.  Finally, there’s a motion arguing that felony murder should not apply to juveniles.  In North Carolina, felony murder is based on deterrence.  However, Miller explains that deterrence doesn’t work with kids because kids tend act impulsively without considering the consequences of their conduct.  All of these arguments are just that – arguments.  Some may win, some will lose.  But we won’t know unless we try.  On any given day in court, anything is possible. Profile Picture - Small
David Andrews

Any Given Sunday

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t watch a lot of football.  The games are long and there’s that persistent risk of concussion.  But a phrase you sometimes hear with football – “any given Sunday” – has a ring to it.  During any particular game, the underdog could surprise everyone and upset a higher-ranked team.

So it is with the law.  The Supreme Court of North Carolina issues opinions once or month or once every two months, but always on a Friday.  And, so, on any given Friday, a defendant or a juvenile could surprise everyone and come out on top.  The Court of Appeals issues opinions on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.  So, you know, “any given Tuesday.”

But how do you get to a point where an upset is possible?  One way is through motions.  Over the past several months, my colleagues and I at the Office of the Appellate Defender (“OAD”) have been working with attorneys at the Office of the Juvenile Defender (“OJD”), the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, and Prisoner Legal Services on sample motions for various issues.  You can find these motions on the OAD and OJD websites.  The motions are designed in part to preserve legal arguments and, thus, to achieve that unexpected win on appeal.  However, they also serve to educate judges and lawyers about specific legal issues.  And who knows? One or more of the motions might win in trial court.

One set of motions involves the new offenses of making a false report of mass violence on educational property and communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property.  The motions involve various free speech arguments.  From the outside, free speech arguments can seem complicated.  But have no fear – these motions provide case law and a roadmap for asserting free speech claims.

Another motion lays out an argument that the State should be required to give notice if it intends to seek a higher disposition on the ground that the juvenile committed the offense while on probation and then prove that the juvenile was on probation beyond a reasonable doubt.  Juveniles are entitled to the same notice as adults.  In addition, the State is required to prove every fact necessary to constitute the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), sentencing enhancements in criminal cases are treated as elements that the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  The same logic should arguably apply to delinquency cases.

Finally, there is a batch a motions that all involve extending Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) to some of its logical conclusions.  For example, there is a motion arguing that the mandatory transfer of first-degree murder cases to adult court is unconstitutional. If judges are required to take youth into account before imposing an LWOP sentence, they should be required to do so before transferring the case to adult court.  Another motion argues that the threshold for imposing the death penalty and mandatory LWOP sentences should be extended from 18- to 25-years old.  Miller was premised on research into adolescent brain development.  And, so, if that same research indicates that the adolescent brain does not finish maturing until the mid-20s, then the law should reflect that research, as well.  Finally, there’s a motion arguing that felony murder should not apply to juveniles.  In North Carolina, felony murder is based on deterrence.  However, Miller explains that deterrence doesn’t work with kids because kids tend act impulsively without considering the consequences of their conduct.

All of these arguments are just that – arguments.  Some may win, some will lose.  But we won’t know unless we try.  On any given day in court, anything is possible.

OJD Week in Review: July 29 – August 2

Tip of the week

Is There Such a Thing as a Juvenile MAR?

Yes and no.  While there is no exact corollary to a motion for appropriate relief (MAR) in juvenile court, N.C.G.S. §7B-2600 provides for a hearing on a motion for the court to review an order of the court is in the best interests of the juvenile.  As a result, the court may modify or vacate the order in light of changes in circumstances or the needs of the juvenile.  Subsection (b) specifically refers to delinquency and states that “the court may reduce the nature or the duration of the disposition on the basis that it was imposed in an illegal manner or is unduly severe with reference to the seriousness of the offense, the culpability of the juvenile, or the dispositions given to juveniles convicted of similar offenses.”

RTA Updates

Senate 413 is now law!  Governor Cooper signed the bill yesterday.  This should make the RTA substantive law final and ready to go for December 1.  Stay tuned for updates on training opportunities, resources, and other materials.

The Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) met this week.  As the body empowered by the General Assembly to monitor and review the implementation of Raise the Age, the JJAC reviewed the status of RTA legislation and budget negotiations, received an update of School Justice Partnerships and filing processes, reviewed Juvenile Crime Prevention Council allocations, and discussed whether to explore recommendation of raising the minimum age of juvenile jurisdiction.  More information about the meeting may be found here.

Speaking of School Justice Partnerships, be sure to check out Chief Justice Cherie Beasley discussing this innovation here.

From Our National Partners: 

Six Policy Priorities for Juvenile Defense | National Juvenile Defense Standards:  Why Juvenile Defense Doesn’t End in the Courtroom

Juvenile defenders can and should play a vital role in policy and justice system reform — and advocates can partner with them to accomplish significant changes that affect youth in the court room and beyond.

This policy update draws on new best practice standards created by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) with support from Models for Change for juvenile defense attorneys. In addition to the standards themselves, the NJDC also calls on defenders to take action toward broad systemic reform, and encourages advocates to collaborate in these areas:

  1. Ensure early access to counsel.
  2. Establish a presumption of indigence for all youth.
  3. Prevent invalid waiver of counsel.
  4. Challenge disparate treatment and discrimination.
  5. Ensure resources and manageable caseloads for juvenile defenders.
  6. Identify and eliminate harmful conditions of confinement

 To learn  more about this article visit: www.njjn.org/our-work/juvenile-defense-standards-six-policy-priorities

 

 

OJD Week in Review: July 22 -26

This week there is a new tip and just the single training reminder.  Please make sure to subscribe to the OJD blog and follow our OJD Twitter and Facebook pages as well to get updates, relevant articles, and other juvenile defense-related content throughout the week. Have a wonderful week and remember knowledge is power!!

Tip of the Week

Relevant Ages in Juvenile Court (Other than Age of Jurisdiction)

While NC is poised to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction, here are some other relevant ages in the Juvenile Code:

6 Earliest age (date of criminal act) one can be a delinquent juvenile or undisciplined juvenile.
10 Youngest age an alleged delinquent juvenile may be fingerprinted or photographed.
Youngest age a delinquent juvenile may be committed to a youth development center.
11 Youngest age a delinquent juvenile may be registered as a juvenile sex offender.
13 Youngest age an alleged delinquent juvenile may be transferred to superior court.
Under 16*

(as of 2015)

Age at which an alleged delinquent juvenile’s admission or confession must be excluded if the juvenile’s parent/guardian or attorney was not present during an in-custody interrogation.
16-18 Age at which an alleged delinquent juvenile must be notified of the right to have a parent or guardian present, as well as an attorney, before an admission or confession may be used against the juvenile.

Training 

Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender conferences Registration end today at 5 PM

Registration is now open for the 2019 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender conferences.  The Parent Attorney Conference will be held Thursday, Aug. 8 and the Juvenile Defender Conference will be held Friday, Aug. 9, and both would begin at 8:30 a.m. each day.  Both conferences, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, and offer approximately six hours of CLE credit.  The Parent Attorney Conference provides training for attorneys, who represent parents in abuse, neglect, dependency, and termination of parental rights proceedings.  The Juvenile Defender Conference provides training for attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings.  Please feel free to download the Juvenile Defender Conference agenda here and the Parent Attorney Conference agenda here.  If you have any questions, please contact Program Manager Kate Jennings, or if you have questions about the course content, please contact Program Attorney Austine Long.

Job Opportunity

The Council for Children’s Rights (CFCR) serves as the public defender for children in Mecklenburg County. Through a contract with the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, CDT attorneys represent all children charged with crimes in juvenile delinquency court. In addition to performing the public defender role in juvenile court, CDT represents every child who is facing civil commitment to a mental health hospital or residential treatment facility. As expressed-interest attorneys, CDT causes children’s voices to be heard in court and protects their constitutional and statutory rights.  CFCR is the only specialized juvenile defense agency in North Carolina.

CFCR is looking to hire a Director of the Children’s Defense team.  For more information, click here.

Articles

Registration of Juvenile Offenders

Recent publication and updates on “SORNA”  Sex  Offender Registration  Notification Act  In 2016, the Supplemental Guidelines for Juvenile Registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act were published in the Federal Register. However,  North Carolina has not yet  implemented this act. To learn  more about SORNA visit: www.smart.gov/caselaw/Case-Law-Update-2019-Compiled.pdf

Dual Jurisdiction Youth

UNC School of Government Professor Jacqui Greene, who co-authored a bulletin on “dual jurisdiction youth,” those youth in both the child welfare and delinquency courts, has written a follow up article on the intersection of dual jurisdiction youth and the upcoming RTA changes.

Legislation

Senate Bill 413, which includes recommendations from the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee, passed the House and has passed in the Senate for concurrence.  It was presented to the governor for his signature on July 24th. Once the bill is final, we’ll be sure to get a breakdown on the OJD site and of course will be included in the upcoming training materials.

 

Farewell from Shaunis

I came to this job as a trial attorney. I had over seven years of experience trying cases. From my first day as an attorney, that’s what I did and that’s what I knew. I’m pretty sure that is why I got this job. But I learned quickly that this job was not that.

As the Assistant Juvenile Defender, I have had the opportunity to travel the state and see how Juvenile Court is unique in each venue as I conducted our contract evaluations. I saw judges and attorneys come up with solutions to help clients that I had never considered when I was practicing. While providing technical assistance for attorneys, in addition to researching issues for attorneys in Juvenile Court, I have been able to brainstorm with some of the most brilliant minds in juvenile defense while we discussed their cases. While moderating our quarterly defender call in, I listened as attorneys helped one another to solve problems in their cases. I went to policy meetings with stakeholders across the juvenile justice arena, all with the common goal of helping juveniles who are at risk of being on a path that is hard to leave and each with a career’s worth of experience and devotion to back it up. I went to legislative sessions, where lawmakers earnestly debated the best way to solve our juvenile justice concerns.

With Eric, I developed work plans and articulated the Office’s vision for future projects systematically and logically, a luxury that most trial attorneys simply don’t have the time to learn to do. Our office manager Sybil helped me learn the ropes of maneuvering efficiently through the piles of paperwork required to responsibly document the work that we do. I’ve learned from skilled teachers who know more about adult learning than I ever knew I needed to know through all of the trainings that our office is a part of through the School of Government, Public Defender Offices, and our partner organizations, such as the National Juvenile Defender Center. My teammates at Indigent Defense Services provided me with the insight of everything that goes in to making sure that our clients have access to qualified counsel.

I leave this job as a better and more complete attorney because of all of you. What I hope to leave to you all is the knowledge that, while each of us feels alone as we are standing next to our client, through the Office of the Juvenile Defender, you have a network of resources and experience ready to back you up. It is just a phone call or a click away!

CFCR Training

The Council for Children’s Rights is hosting a training on October 31, 2014 entitled, “Effective Mental Health Advocacy Training for Youth”. This is a great opportunity for a refresher on mental health laws that impact juveniles as well learning where to locate the resources to serve your client. The registration form can be found here.

Nine Notions for New Juvenile Defenders

Attorneys come to Juvenile Court in different ways. Some of us are fresh out of law school, excited to get our first case, while others of us have been attorneys for years and are looking to diversify our practice. Regardless of our background, Juvenile Court is unquestionably unique. Below are my top nine tips for new attorneys, which are also great reminders for those of us who’ve been doing this for a while.

1. Be prepared. Nothing combats inexperience like preparation. Juvenile court has a lot of moving pieces, isolate the variables and anticipate what is next. Many of the additional tips are suggestions on ways to be do just that.

2. Read the book(s). Many of the calls I get from new defenders are requesting guidance for where to find resources. The answer is Chapter 7B. This is a great place to start and a great place to return. Another invaluable resource is the Juvenile Defender Manual. After spending some time with the primers, I encourage you to explore the other resources on our site. We have links to past trainings, brief banks, and other reference materials.

3. Build relationships. Part of being prepared means talking with court counselors and district attorneys before court. It means calling the schools and talking to teachers. Building relationships is more than just calling when you need something though. It means something as simple as saying, “How was your weekend?”. Becoming integrated into your legal community and community at large is essential for being a good advocate for your client.

4.Advocate for your client. Through your relationship building, you may encounter people who tell you they don’t understand why you are fighting them. They are just trying to help your client. That may be very true, there are lots of people trying to do what they think will help your client, but you are the only person who is advocating for what your client wants. You may worry that you will lose the respect of the other folks in the courtroom, but you won’t. You are upholding your sworn ethical duty. That means something. And to your client that means everything.

5. Don’t be afraid to put on the brakes. Juvenile court moves fast. Before you know it, your client may be on his way to a detention center. It is okay to ask the Court to be heard. It is okay to ask the Court for more time to continue the case. It is okay to ask for a moment to consult with your client while cross-examining a witness or to gather your thoughts for a closing. Most of the other people in the courtroom get paid to work until 5 PM and do not expect anything less. While you may feel pressure to move quickly, protecting your client’s rights are paramount. This is where being prepared and building relationships are important. If it appears that your requests are based on a need for your client and not your failure to prepare for court, then it will be hard for anyone to fault you for the request.

6. Meet your clients where they are. Your client cannot legal drive; they may or not have the ability to get to you. However, meeting with your client before court is critical. This is the first step in developing a relationship with your client. If your client is at the detention center, it is even more imperative that s/he hear from you. This first meeting sets the tone for your entire representation of this client. This is where you inform the importance of not talking to others about the case. Meeting your clients where they are involves more than a physical location, it includes meeting your client at where s/he is developmentally and emotionally. Spend some time assessing your client’s communication style and speak to that. This doesn’t mean talking down to the client, it means talking in a language your client understands.  If you are able to meet your client where they are, you will make your job much easier and secure a better outcome for your client in the long run.

7. Follow through. As you continue to build relationships with your client, with his parents, and with other folks in the court, it is imperative that you follow through when you say you are going to do something. Adolescence take us at our word. If we say we will call at 5 PM with an update,then we must call at 5 PM. An adult may understand that if they don’t receive a call, it means there is no update, but a juvenile just sees that you broke a promise. Many of our clients have had adults break promises throughout their lives, and as attorneys, we have to do better to instill confidence in our clients. A better practice is to make small promises you know you can keep.

8. Follow-up. When something happens in the case, follow up with your client. Keeping in touch with your client reminds the client that you are working in the case and that it matters. Additionally, it serves as a reminder to the client. A lot of things happen really quickly in court, and a follow up after court may clarify what has happened to the client. It can also help prevent unintentional violations of the court order based on misunderstandings.

9. Ask for help. When you reach a stumbling block in a case, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The law in Juvenile Court is not as settled as other areas of practice, so you should never feel bad for seeking guidance. As you are building relationships, don’t forget your fellow juvenile defenders. In addition to the wealth of knowledge of juvenile law they offer, those attorneys offer insight into local practices that can’t be matched. Daily we speak to attorneys across the state. Sometimes the call is as soon as a petition is issued, sometimes the attorney has requested a recess mid-trial to call us. Either way, our office is just a phone call or email away with no judgement and a desire to help!

What advice do you have for new defenders? Do you have a different point of view? Please feel free to leave comments!

Internship

Our office hosts interns and externs from law schools across the state throughout the year. Our interns work on a variety of policy and training issues that assist North Carolina Juvenile Defenders to better advocate for their clients. We are currently accepting resumes for interns for the Spring 2015 semester, as well as Summer 2015. Take a look around our website, and if you are currently enrolled in law school and are interested in working with our office, please send your cover letter and resume to sybil.r.bowick@nccourts.org.

Annual Conference

Don’t forget our upcoming Annual Juvenile Defender Conference on August 15, 2014. We are looking forward to seeing all of our defenders, whether you are a contract attorney, an assistant public defender, or a privately appointed attorney. Thank you for all of your hard work.

JUVENILE DEFENDER CONFERENCE (August 15, 2014)
Juvenile Defense: Raising the Bar
The Juvenile Defender Conference addresses topics of interest to attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings. This year’s program focuses on innovative practices that can increase the effectiveness of representation in delinquency proceedings. We will examine topics such as enforcing due process rights, challenging consent searches, and promising practices in the view of experienced delinquency court judges. The program also includes a case and legislative update and an ethics hour on building client confidence.

Location, Dates, and Times: Friday, August 15, respectively, at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Sign-in is 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. each day.

Registration: To register, as well as to find directions, hotel information, and other program information (including our cancellation and refund policy), visit:
Registration (Juvenile Defender Conference)

Fee: Thanks to support from IDS, there is no fee for IDS state employees. The registration fee for private assigned counsel is $150, which includes all materials, parking, breaks, and lunch.

Additional Information: We look forward to seeing you in August. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact me, Danielle Rivenbark—Program Manager—at daniellp@sog.unc.edu / 919.843.8981. If you have questions about the course content please contact Austine Long – Program Attorney – at along@sog.unc.edu / 919.962.9594.