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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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:
Ensure early access to counsel.
Establish a presumption of indigence for all youth.
Prevent invalid waiver of counsel.
Challenge disparate treatment and discrimination.
Ensure resources and manageable caseloads for juvenile defenders.
Identify and eliminate harmful conditions of confinement
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:
Earliest age (date of criminal act) one can be a delinquent juvenile or undisciplined juvenile.
Youngest age an alleged delinquent juvenile may be fingerprinted or photographed.
Youngest age a delinquent juvenile may be committed to a youth development center.
Youngest age a delinquent juvenile may be registered as a juvenile sex offender.
Youngest age an alleged delinquent juvenile may be transferred to superior court.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.