Week in Review: August 3-7

Happy Friday Readers! As the meme above says, another good week done! Thank you for all that you do in these times with our youth and in your daily lives. We know things are a bit crazy and harder than normal for everyone. You rock!

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.

Webinar?

Continuing with our collaboration with the School of Law at NCCU and the Virtual Justice Project, Part II of our Covid-19: The State of Our Mental Health webinar will be Thursday, August 13 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. This is not a CLE.

Our guest speakers are Nikki Croteau-Johnson, MA, LP, HSP-PA from the NC Child Treatment Program in Durham, NC and Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell, Clinical Associate Professor and Supervising Attorney of the Juvenile Law Clinic at NCCU, and Jesse Edmonds, a Juvenile Court Counselor with NC DPS.

From discussions about the new school model, missing out on graduation to the shaking of their everyday lives, this webinar is intended on how to best adapt to our youth’s new path into growing up in a pandemic. Click here to register.

CLE REMINDER!

TODAY! from 3:00-4:00 PM. 

Jen Story, Tessa Hale, Mary Stansell are presenting a new CLE: Making the Connection- Education Advocacy and Juvenile Defense. 

Come to this session to learn the basics of special education laws and school-based intervention plans; how to issue-spot when students’ unaddressed needs in schools are exacerbating their behaviors; and how to incorporate this knowledge into your advocacy in a way that sets juveniles up for long-term success.  You can register for this CLE here and will be sent the meeting link information afterwards

This CLE is DEFENDER ONLY! OJD is covering CLE costs for the first 30 registrants and CLE is pending.

That’s all we have for this week!

Week in Review: July 27-31

Good morning readers! It’s the last week in July, can you believe it? Is time flying by or is it just us? Let’s start your weekend off with a new OJD blog.

Raise the Age Tip of the Week

How Do I Know the State Will be Seeking the Gang Enhancement Against My Juvenile?

Under current law, there is no process for notice to the juvenile and the juvenile’s attorney that the state is seeking the gang enhancement.  As the juvenile’s attorney, you should consider the following:

  • Get a copy of the gang assessment from DJJ prior to adjudication
  • Argue that the notice of gang enhancement be presented pre-adjudication
  • Develop a theory of defense against client’s involvement in gang activity
  • Prepare for a hearing on the issue
  • Request a hearing, similar to an adjudicatory hearing
  • Request the court make findings on the record and appeal where  appropriate

A Bit of Housekeeping!

OJD is working from home for now and if you need to reach us for a case consultation, upcoming training, or have a question about court? Don’t forget you can email us for a faster response! Click here for links to our email addresses.

Upcoming Events

August 7, 2020 from 3:00-4:00 PMJen Story, Tessa Hale, Mary Stansell are presenting a new CLE: Making the Connection- Education Advocacy and Juvenile Defense. Come to this session to learn the basics of special education laws and school-based intervention plans; how to issue-spot when students’ unaddressed needs in schools are exacerbating their behaviors; and how to incorporate this knowledge into your advocacy in a way that sets juveniles up for long-term success.  You can register for this CLE here and will be sent the meeting link information afterwards.

Thursday, August 13, 6:00-7:30 please join us for COVID-19: The State of Our Mental Health Part II. This session will focus on the mental health and issues younger adults and youth are facing due to this pandemic. Featuring Nikki Croteau-Johnson, MA, LPA, Clinical Program Director at NC Child Treatment Program and Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell, Clinical Associate Professor and Supervising Attorney for the Juvenile Law Clinic at NCCU. Please click here to register for the event. You will receive the Zoom link afterward registering.

Opportunity!

LaTobia is looking for guest bloggers to contribute to our Week in Review. Defenders and those in juvenile justice are welcome to write in on topics of their expertise: secure custody, mental health in juveniles, etc! We want to hear from you! There’s plenty more weeks left in the year! Reach out to LaTobia here for more information.

THAT’S ALL FOR JULY! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

A Lawyer’s View: Admissions and Use of Transcript of Admission by a Juvenile

Happy Friday Readers! No Week in Review this week, but please keep reading for our new series: “A Lawyer’s View.”

When may an admission by a juvenile be accepted?  Is a transcript of admission by a juvenile, Form AOC-J-410 required for adjudication?

AOC-J-410 and Legal Requirements

AOC provides numerous forms for use in court proceedings, some required and others not.  While a transcript of admission by a juvenile is not specifically required for adjudication, it is best practice to utilize the form. This form tracks the necessary language set out in the Juvenile Code, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407.  Because only adult superior court, not district court, requires plea transcripts, it may be thought that in juvenile court, the transcript of admission is only utilized in felony cases.  It should be noted that 7B-2407 applies to both misdemeanors and felonies. 

N.C. General Statute § 7B-2407 establishes the criteria to determine when admissions by a juvenile may be accepted.  Subparagraph (a) requires the court to address the juvenile personally and inform the juvenile of the right to remain silent and that any statement the juvenile makes may be used against the juvenile; determine if the juvenile understands the nature of the charges; inform the juvenile of the right to deny the allegations in the petition; inform the juvenile that, by the juvenile’s admissions, the juvenile is waiving the right to be confronted by the witnesses against the juvenile; determine that the juvenile is satisfied with the juvenile’s attorney; and inform the juvenile of the most restrictive disposition.

Subparagraph (b) requires the court to inquire of the prosecutor, the juvenile’s attorney and the juvenile personally to determine whether there were prior discussions involving admissions, whether the parties have entered into any arrangements and, if so, the terms of any admission.  Further, the court is required to determine whether “any improper pressure was exerted.”  The statute specifically states, “The court may only accept an admission after determining that the admission is a product of informed choice.”

Subparagraph (c) requires the court to determine that there is a factual basis for the admission based upon any of the following: a statement of facts by the prosecutor, a written statement of the juvenile; sworn testimony which may include reliable hearsay; or a statement of facts by the juvenile’s attorney.

Form AOC-J-410, if followed closely, complies with the statutorily required inquiry of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407.  While some districts, as a local practice, only utilize a transcript of admission for felonies, this can be problematic.  For example, if disposition is transferred to another county, newly appointed counsel on disposition should determine if the juvenile was properly advised at adjudication.  The juvenile may not know or remember being addressed by the presiding judge.  In the absence of a transcript of admission, counsel may need to obtain a copy of the recorded proceeding to determine if the proper inquiry was completed and whether the terms of the admission by the juvenile and the Court’s order are the same.  (Another AOC form provides the motion and order for obtaining the recording.  AOC-G-115.)

Caselaw

Failure to make the proper inquiry is reversible error.  Addressing each statutory prong of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407 is mandatory.  In re T.E.F., 359 N.C. 570, 614 S.E.2d 296 (2005) establishes that the standard is not totality of the circumstances and failure to make one of the inquiries (in that case, whether the juvenile was satisfied with his counsel) is reversible error.  See also In re A.W., 182 N.C. App. 159, 641 S.E.2d 354 (2007) where both adjudication and disposition were reversed when there was no indication of informing the juvenile of his right to remain silent and that statements made could be used against him or that he had a right to deny the allegations; In re N.J., 221 N.C. App. 427, 728 S.E.2d 9 (2012) where an adjudication was reversed when the juvenile was not advised of the most restrictive disposition prior to accepting the admission; and In re Register, 84 N.C. App. 336, 352 S.E.2d 486 (1987), stating that it is impossible for a judge to determine that the admission is the product of informed choice without making the required inquiries of each child.  Counsel should note that the Court of Appeals has determined that 7B-2407 does not apply to probation violations.  In re D.J.M., 181 N.C. App. 126, 638 S.E.2d 610 (2007).

AOC-J-410 as a Helpful Tool

In addition to providing verification of the proper N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407 inquiry, AOC-J-410 provides counsel an opportunity to ensure that the juvenile understands the proceedings and can aid communication between counsel and the juvenile.  By asking questions about the juvenile’s level of education and any medications in a more formalized way, an attorney can gain additional information to aid in proper advocacy.  Counsel should consider keeping a copy of the transcript of admission for use during the adjudication.  This can be particularly useful for juveniles with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or for juveniles who are visual rather than auditory learners.  Reviewing a transcript of admission in advance will help prepare the juvenile for court and can decrease anxiety regarding court.  It may be the Court’s first opportunity to see and address the juvenile client, so preparation in advance is a necessity. 

Finally, should a matter be transferred to another county for disposition, the transcript of admission can provide useful information to counsel for disposition advocacy.  In addition to providing information regarding the juvenile’s educational level and whether the juvenile is taking any medications, form AOC-J-410 provides documentation of the terms of any arrangement regarding admissions.  Clerical errors on adjudication orders may be easily addressed with comparison to a transcript of admission.  A local practice that dictates that a transcript of admission only be utilized for felonies may increase the risk of errors in adjudication orders for misdemeanor offenses. 

Best Practice Based upon N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407

While use of a transcript of admission does require additional time in and out of court, best practice is to utilize AOC-J-410.  The Court may accept an admission by a juvenile only after addressing each of the criteria set out in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407.  The statute applies equally to both misdemeanors and felonies, and failure to address even one of the criteria is reversible error.  Use of form AOC-J-410 in all cases ensures that the juvenile is properly advised pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2407, decreases the risk of errors in adjudication orders and aids in communication with the client and disposition advocacy.  If counsel is appointed in a juvenile matter for disposition following transfer from another county, counsel should carefully review the Court file and be prepared to obtain and review any recordings when a transcript of admission has not been utilized.  In cases where the proper statutory inquiry was not made, Counsel should advise the juvenile regarding entering notice of appeal.

Written by: Assistant Juvenile Defender Terri Johnson. Terris  graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University in 2000.  She received her Juris Doctor degree from UNC Chapel Hill School of Law in 2003, and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 2003.  Her practice areas included criminal law, family law and juvenile law and has focused on juvenile law as OJD’s Assistant Juvenile Defender in delinquency court in both Iredell and Alexander counties.

Week in Review: July 13-17

Happy Friday Readers! Can you believe it’s the middle of the month already? Well, here’s to another week down with a tip, a couple announcements and an opportunity!

TIP OF THE WEEK!

If you have a client being held on a secure custody order – remember it’s the STATE’s burden to prove to the court, by clear and convincing evidence, that the juvenile should remain in custody AND no less intrusive alternative will suffice (§7B-1906(d)).  That means it’s not the court counselor’s role!  Ask the court for less restrictive means, for example electronic monitoring or house arrest.  If the court finds that your client should remain in custody, the court is bound by the criteria in §7B-1903 and must make written findings of fact.

Annoucements!

DEFENDERS! DON’T MISS OUT ON TWO FREE CLEs! 

July 24, 2020 at 3:00-4:00 PM. Interviewing and Counseling Youth: Presented by Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell, Clinical Assistant Professor & Supervising Attorney, Juvenile Law Clinic at NCCU. You can register here and will be sent the meeting link information afterwards.

August 7, 2020 from 3:00-4:00 PMJen Story, Tessa Hale, Mary Stansell are presenting a new CLE: Making the Connection- Education Advocacy and Juvenile Defense. Come to this session to learn the basics of special education laws and school-based intervention plans; how to issue-spot when students’ unaddressed needs in schools are exacerbating their behaviors; and how to incorporate this knowledge into your advocacy in a way that sets juveniles up for long-term success.  You can register for this CLE here and will be sent the meeting link information afterwards

Both CLEs are DEFENDER ONLY! OJD is covering CLE costs for the first 30 registrants and CLE is pending.

SAVE THE DATE! July 30, 2020 6:00-8:00 OJD along with Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell of the NCCU School of Law and The Virtual Justice Project, are hosting, COVID-19: The State of Our Mental Health Part II. More details to come!

Opportunity!

LaTobia is looking for guest bloggers to contribute to our Week in Review. Defenders and those in juvenile justice are welcome to write in on topics of their expertise: secure custody, mental health in juveniles, etc! We want to hear from you! There’s plenty more weeks left in the year! Reach out to LaTobia here for more information.

Job Opportunity!

The Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL) in Durham, North Carolina seeks to hire a new staff attorney to support its mission.

CDPL is a non-profit law firm and advocacy organization that works to provide the highest quality representation to people facing execution, and to end the death penalty in North Carolina. CDPL is seeking to hire an attorney with at least two years of relevant experience interested in working on post-conviction cases and, if desired, trial cases.

Applicants should send a cover letter by August 31, 2020, detailing interest, as well as a resume, the names of two professional references, and a writing sample of approximately 10 pages to Ms. Barrie Wallace at barrie@cdpl.org. For additional information, please contact Barrie Wallace at barrie@cdpl.org.

Please click here for more information and a list of responsibilities for this position.

Week in Review: July 6-10

Happy Friday Readers! 2nd week in July done and over, but was plenty busy for OJD. Webinars, meetings, court, you name it! So here’s your weekly recap plus a great tip.

Tip of the Week:

Tip of the Week – My Client is in Detention… How Do I Find Them?

There are currently eight detention centers in North Carolina:

  • Alexander Juvenile Detention Center in Taylorsville
  • Cabarrus Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Concord
  • Cumberland Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Fayetteville
  • New Hanover Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Castle Hayne
  • Pitt Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Greenville
  • Wake Juvenile Detention Center in Raleigh
  • Durham County Youth Home in Durham
  • Guilford County Detention Center in Greensboro

Check with your court counselor’s office to find out which location your client is being held, and check here for contact information to visit and call your client.

Webinar, Anyone?

  • NC CRED is hosting a webinar, Wednesday, July 15th from 3:00-4:30 PM entitled, “Balancing The Scales: The Injustice Of Confederate Monuments In Public Spaces.” This webinar how these figures are antiethical to equality under the law and it’s placement at courthouses, plus more. To read more about the presenters and to register for this event, please click here.
  • Join NACDL for a Free Virtual Discussion on Race + Pretrial Practices, Tuesday, July 14th at 4:00 PM entitled, “Policing Black Bodies: Race and Pretrial Practices.” This webinar will discuss the issues of racial bias and racial disparity and how they are pervasive in the criminal legal system. To read more on the details of this webinar and to register, click here.
  • DEFENDERS! DON’T MISS OUT ON A FREE CLE! July 24, 2020 at 3:00-4:00 PMInterviewing and Counseling Youth: Presented by Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell, Clinical Assistant Professor & Supervising Attorney, Juvenile Law Clinic at NCCU. You can register here and will be sent link information afterwards.

OJD is covering CLE costs for the first 30 registrants and CLE is pending.

Want to meet our Summer 2020 Interns? Read below!

Alex Palme

My name is Alexander Jeffrey Palme and I am from Sanford, NC. I am 24 years old and am married.  I have been playing various sports since I was very young and currently play professional soccer in the UPSL for Moros FC in my free time. I have degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where I also wrote a study that I self-published on the recommendation of my professor. I will be in my third year of law school at NCCU and am currently operating under a practicing certificate from the NC bar. I plan to take the UBE next summer and would ultimately love to be on the bench. Last summer I clerked for Legal Aid’s Senior Law Project in Asheville, NC. 

Alex is currently assisting in case research with our Assistant Juvenile Defenders and helping outline our Pocket Guides which will be distributed to defenders soon!

Terris Riley

Mrs. Terris Riley, a native of South Carolina, is law student at North Carolina Central University School of Law with an expected graduation in 2022. As a non-traditional student, she has over 22 years of experience in the Information Technology industry—both private and public sector. She has received numerous local, regional and national awards for her leadership in technology. In 2013, Mrs. Riley’s IT firm was awarded and recognized as South Carolina’s No. 3 Best Performing Business in the State. She later founded a non-profit to pursue activism work for Justice Reform. Prior to relocating to North Carolina for law school, Mrs. Riley served as the Director of Constituent Support for Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and South Carolina House Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, the longest serving Member of the SC General Assembly. Upon graduation, she desires to work as an Assistant United States Attorney.

Terris is currently assisting with webinar series and communications, and she brings with her experience with the Virtual Justice Project.

We can’t wait to see the work you two do this summer with OJD!

Week in Review June 29-July 2

Happy Holiday Weekend Readers! A short week for OJD but full of work and planning. No tip, but we have a few events coming up for you and that’ll close out this blog.

Webinars & CLE Opportunities

  • July 9, 2020 6:00-8:00 OJD along with Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell of the NCCU School of Law and The Virtual Justice Project, are hosting: The State of Our Mental Health Part I: Presented by Cindy Cottle, Ph.D., April Harris-Britt, Ph.D. and Brett Bowers, LCMHCS, LCAS, NCC, MAC. This is a NON-CLE activity but we hope that you join us for an important conversation led by amazing professionals. A link for registration and the web platform will be updated shortly. Please check your emails or back here.
  • July 24, 2020 at 3:00-4:00 PM. Interviewing and Counseling Youth: Presented by Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell, Clinical Assistant Professor & Supervising Attorney, Juvenile Law Clinic at NCCU.

This session will cover the best way to build rapport and trust with youth, especially during the current crisis. It will include important information you should obtain from your clients as well information you should explain to them. The speaker will discuss parent interaction and how to manage their expectations. This event is DEFENDER ONLY. You can register here and will be sent link information afterwards.

OJD is covering CLE costs for the first 30 registrants and CLE is pending.

  • Save the Date! August 7, 2020 from 3:00-4:00 PM. Jen Story, Tessa Hale, Mary Stansell are presenting a new CLE: Making the Connection- Education Advocacy and Juvenile Defense. More details and registration coming soon.

That’s all for us this week! Be safe and have fun!

Week in Review: June 22-26

Another week down Readers! How are you feeling? Ready to get off, grab some ice cold lemonade and enjoy some front porch action? Us too, so let’s get down to business.

TIP OF THE WEEK!

District court is generally not a court of record, however juvenile delinquency court is a court of record.  That means that you are creating a record for use on appeal if that becomes necessary at the conclusion of your case.  In addition to making sure you preserve the record for appeal (more on that later), you may want to consider requesting an audio recording of a proceeding for other reasons.  For example, if you have a probable cause hearing, you may want to request the audio recording (and possibly have it transcribed) for use in the subsequent adjudicatory hearing.  The AOC form to request the audio recording of your hearing is AOC-G-115.

Webinars & Resources!

The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System is hosting a webinar, Policing & Racial Justice: Where Do We Go From Here?, June 29 at 12:00 PM.

Topics include: police brutality, qualified immunity, the “defund the police” debate, and racial justice in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. Presenters include: Frank Baumgartner, Kami Chavis, Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis and Greear Webb. See more information and register here.

As we close out our LGBTQ+ Pride Week, we wanted to share some important resources:

LGBTQ Cultural Competency Links –

Please read more about Pride Week and the historic Stonewall Riots written by Anthony Benedetti, Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston, MA.

Job Seeking Anyone?

  • NCPLS is searching for a new Executive Director. Applications will be accepted until June 30th. NCPLS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit law firm that provides people incarcerated by the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction with constitutionally required meaningful access to the courts. The Executive Director has primary responsibility for managing the organization’s day-to-day operations, directing the work of the staff, and serving as the primary spokesperson for the organization. Click here for description and application!
  • Strategies for Youth (SFY), a national nonprofit organization committed to improving police/youth interactions and reducing disproportionate minority contact, is seeking a new staff attorney. They are considering remote candidates. Please read more about this amazing opportunity here.

Alright Readers! That’s all for this week. We hope you have a great weekend and we will see you on our Twitter (@NCOJD) and Facebook (North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender) on Monday!!

Week in Review: June 15-19

Here’s to another Friday in the books! Couple announcements and a bit of history today, and of course your weekly tip. Thanks for all that you continue to do.

Tip of the Week – Building Trust

Investing time is the single most important strategy for building trust and rapport with your client.  You need to listen and ask questions without judgment, and explain why you need to ask certain questions.  Allow your client the opportunity, and encourage him/her to ask questions as well.  Be sure to explain to your client how your role is different from other adults s/he has interacted with (i.e. attorney/client privilege).  And most importantly – never make a promise you can’t keep.  If you say you’re going to do something – do it!

Ahem! Announcements!

Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, also known as Freedom Day. June 19th  is recognized as the African American Emancipation Day after news delivered by Union soldiers in 1865, led by Major General Gordon Granger, announced in Galveston, Texas with news that the last of the enslaved were now free. This occurred TWO YEARS after President Lincoln’s Proclamation.

Today marks 155 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was revealed in Texas and many companies and brands have made this day a paid holiday, acknowledging the struggle and victories of the African-American culture. Other organizations will work to make today a day of learning, promoting knowledge and appreciation of African-American history and self-development. Happy Juneteenth.

NEXT WEEK

OJD will be celebrating and providing educational insight to the LGBTQ+ community as it is the last week of Pride Month. We will be sharing insightful tips on how to address, speak, and represent your LGBTQ+ clients in delinquency courts, as well as a little bit of history. Stay tuned!

And Finally…

CHEERS TO THE WEEKEND!