Week in Review: Feb 22-26

Happy Friday Readers! We’ve conquered the last week of February and ready to start new challenges on Monday, March 1, right? Right! A Monday and first of the month? Please! Just a little humor to get us going but as always, here’s to your week in review.

Tip of the Week – Discovery

The Juvenile Code has similar discovery rules to those followed in adult criminal court.  Though Juvenile Court is in District Court, most jurisdictions understand that discovery transfer is a practice for both misdemeanors and felonies in Juvenile Court.  Even if there’s an “automatic discovery” rule in your jurisdiction, you should always file a motion  to receive discovery.  Note that the state may also file a reciprocal motion, which may impact your decision on presenting expert opinion testimony or reports.

Have you seen our FINAL #BlackHistoryMonth Spotlights?

Charlotte Dover (Left) & Aleta Ballard (Right)

This week we showcased two great attorneys and their work within the juvenile defense community. First up was Charlotte Dover on Tuesday and Aleta Ballard on Thursday via our Twitter and FaceBook pages. To catch up on their spotlights: You can see Charlotte’s spotlight here & Aleta’s spotlight here. We would like to thank all of our Spotlight Attorney’s for being so willing to participate and show us what #BlackHistoryMonth means to each one of them and the importance of equality in our juvenile justice system. We appreciate you!

And if you haven’t followed us on Twitter & FaceBook yet, click the links to do that too!

LGBTQ CLE: Representing LGBTQ Youth

OJD would like to thank Ames Simmons on his presentation for our Representing Youth CLE held on Wednesday. The class covered topics such as a LGBTQ 101, pronouns, identity, how to support and approach young LGBTQ members who may not know how they identify and how to advocate for them individually.

Eric Zogry for the NC Bar Blog

OJD’s Eric Zogry was a guest blogger for the NC Bar titled, “Reconsidering North Carolina’s Minimum Age of Jurisdiction. He speaks on the need to raise the minimum age of children that can be charged with a crime, citing committees and tasks forces that have worked to recommend what that age should be. To read Eric’s blog, click here.

Happy Weekend!

Week in Review: Feb 15-19

Happy Friday Readers! We finally made it to the weekend, how good does it feel? Not to keep you waiting, let’s get right to it.

Tip of the Week – Before You Plea

Talk to your client about the impacts of an adjudication.  While not as public as adult criminal convictions, juvenile adjudications may impact the following: immigration status, educational placement, housing conditions, eligibility to play sports, placement on a sex offender registry (in N.C. or other states) and others.  Always consider the long-term consequences of what may first appear to be a short-term decision.

FROM IDSIMPORTANT

The Commission on Indigent Defense Services recently approved a modest, but much-needed, partial restoration of rates paid to private counsel providing representation in some case types. Specifically, the Commission voted to raise by $5 an hour the rate for high-level felonies, with a corresponding increase in non-hourly representation for adult criminal and juvenile delinquency proceedings. The Commission also voted to raise by $5 an hour the rate for DWI and Class A1 misdemeanors disposed of in the district court, with a corresponding increase in non-hourly representation. The increases approved by the Commission will take effect on March 1, 2021. Please click here to read the notice from Darrin Jordan, the Commission Chair, and IDS Executive Director, Mary Pollard. Also, if you have any questions, please reach out to Whitney Fairbanks via email.

Have you seen our #BlackHistoryMonth Spotlights?

Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell & Sharif Deveaux

This week we showcased two great attorneys and their work within the juvenile defense community. First up was Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell on Tuesday and then Sharif Deveaux on Thursday on our Twitter and FaceBook pages. To catch up on their spotlights: Click here for Dorothy & Click here for Sharif.

OJD CLE NEXT WEEK!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 2:30 PM, OJD is hosting “Representing LGBT Youth”. This CLE will be presented by Ames Simmons, the Policy Director for Equality NC. This program will be a 90 minute CLE, with application pending and FREE TO THE FIRST 35 REGISTRANTS. This webinar includes a general review of introductory concepts and terminology related to LGBTQ identities, including the importance of pronouns to professionalism. We will discuss gender-expansive youth and the processes of gender transition for young people. We will talk about LGBTQ youth in out-of-home custody and present best practices for advocating for LGBTQ young people in the juvenile legal system. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Got Some Extra Time This Weekend?

Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole is a 2020 show that premiered on A&E and covers the individuals stories of youth sentenced to Life without Parole who are now seeking resentencing due to changes in law throughout their imprisoned life and new evidence. This show is not indicative of strategy or pertinent information of NC law and statute, this is shared simply for additional information on how changes in LWOP have affected juvenile justice. To watch and learn more, click here.

Week in Review: Feb 8-12

Happy Friday Readers! We hope your week was productive with plenty of moments to catch your breath too. Couple of announcements for you this week, along with a new (and free) OJD CLE!

Tip of the Week!

Where Can I Find the Law on RTA?

If you want to see the Session Laws which include the Raise the Age changes, see:

Senate Bill 413: 2019 Session Amendments to the RTA Bill (Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act)

Senate Bill 257: The final bill budget for Session Law 2017; info pertaining to the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act can be found on pages 309-325

You can also check out the NC General Assembly website.  Look under “Bills and Laws,” then “General Statutes.”  You can search by citation or test, or you can look at Chapter 7B under the Table of Contents, and see the most recent changes to statute text on the right side of the statute.

FROM IDS

The Commission on Indigent Defense Services recently approved a modest, but much-needed, partial restoration of rates paid to private counsel providing representation in some case types. Specifically, the Commission voted to raise by $5 an hour the rate for high-level felonies, with a corresponding increase in non-hourly representation for adult criminal and juvenile delinquency proceedings. The Commission also voted to raise by $5 an hour the rate for DWI and Class A1 misdemeanors disposed of in the district court, with a corresponding increase in non-hourly representation. The increases approved by the Commission will take effect on March 1, 2021. Please click here to read the notice from Darrin Jordan, the Commission Chair, and IDS Executive Director, Mary Pollard. Also, if you have any questions, please reach out to Whitney Fairbanks via email.

Have you seen our #BlackHistoryMonth Spotlights?

Lyana Hunter (left) & Staisha Hamilton (right)

This week we showcased two amazing women and their work within the juvenile defense community. First up was Lyana Hunter and then Staisha Hamilton. To catch up on their spotlights, click here for Lyana and click here for Staisha!

OJD CLE OPPORTUNITY!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 2:30 PM, OJD is hosting “Representing LGBT Youth”. This CLE will be presented by Ames Simmons, the Policy Director for Equality NC. This program will be a 90 minute CLE, with application pending and FREE TO THE FIRST 35 REGISTRANTS. This webinar includes a general review of introductory concepts and terminology related to LGBTQ identities, including the importance of pronouns to professionalism. We will discuss gender-expansive youth and the processes of gender transition for young people. We will talk about LGBTQ youth in out-of-home custody and present best practices for advocating for LGBTQ young people in the juvenile legal system. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

THATS ALL FOR THIS WEEK! HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Week in Review: Feb 1-5

Happy Friday Readers! February is the shortest month in our calendar but what some like to call, “the real start to the new year, January is a test run.” February also brings Black History Month and we have some great shares coming your way this month, so keep an eye out on our socials!

ANNOUCEMENT

In a a week or two, OJD will be undergoing a bit of a makeover. Our website is getting a whole new look and feel to better fit the needs of a growing and changing audience. Please bear with us during that time and if you need anything, feel free to email or call and we will make sure you get your motions, forms, and tips. Thanks!

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.

Resources

Don’t forget about our guest blogs that have been posted recently. They contain some very important information alongside some extra tips to make our Defenders even better than they already are!

The Kitchen Sink: Written by David Andrews on challenging automatic transfers.

Yasi: Written by Kim Howes and discusses the new Youth Assessment tool and issues to be aware of.

Black History Month – Did You Know?

Juvenile girls, ages 14-17 held in detention. Source: Biography.com

As Defenders and Juvenile Justice advocates, we know that the voice of children can challenge and change the way we think and increase our desire to make the world a better place for them. This is not a new way of thinking and is evident throughout history and here is just one of many stories below:

On May 2, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama is known as the Children’s Crusade or most notably called, “The Birmingham’s Children’s Crusade.” This was a series of non-violent demonstrations held by children aging from 5-17 and a result of the incarceration of Martin Luther King, Jr and his “Letter’s from a Birmingham Jail” among others detained during civil rights movements in Alabama. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights believed that if officers saw young children present, and trained them in non-violent tactics, but that was not the case. 100s of young children were arrested and detained and on the second day, the Commissioner of Public Safety ordered pepper spray to be used on the children, also hitting them with batons and threatening them with police dogs. Under the threat of harm, these children continued to protest the business segregation in Birmingham and lack of civil human rights they were receiving. By May 10, after national visibility and frustration, Birmingham city leaders agreed to desegregate businesses and free all the jailed children and adults from the demonstrations. In response to the Children’s Crusade, Dr. King said. “Even though we realized that involving teenagers and high-school students would bring down upon us a heavy fire of criticism, we felt that we needed this dramatic new dimension…Our fight, if won, would benefit people of all ages. But most of all we were inspired with a desire to give to our young a true sense of their own stake in freedom and justice. We believed they would have the courage to respond to our call.”

To read more about this historic event, please click here.

THANKS FOR READING!

HAVE A GREAT, SAFE, FUN, AND COZY WEEKEND!

Week in Review: Jan 25-29

Happy Friday Readers!! It feels like January is taking forever to move on into February but hey! We’ll take it. This week was pretty quiet so let’s recap some of what happened.

Tip of The Week

Suppression motions aren’t often used in the District Court setting (outside DWI cases), however juvenile court offers many opportunities for suppression.  The juvenile code outlines the procedure for filing a motion to suppress (§7B-2408.5) and it may be made either in writing before the adjudicatory hearing or orally during the hearing.  Consider whether or not your client’s statement or identifications may be subject to suppression.  Remember – “in custody” is an objective test!  The test is whether a “reasonable juvenile” in the position of the respondent would believe him/herself to be in custody OR that s/he had been deprived of freedom of action in some significant way, and is not based on the subjective intent of the interrogator or the perception of the person under questioning.  That means if your client is in the principal’s office and the SRO is standing in front of the door, would your client feel free to leave?

NC IDS Re-Appointments

During the IDS Commission’s quarterly meeting on January 22, 2021, IDS voted to re-appoint Rob Sharpe as the Capital Defender for the Office of the Capital Defender and our very own Eric Zogry as the Juvenile Defender. To read more about these great public servants and their roles, click here.

THANK YOU!

Big thanks to Jason Mahoney for presenting yesterday during our first CLE of the year. This training covered best practices for our Defenders to protect themselves and their mental health when being exposed to multiple traumatic stories or actions a day. The training also covered ways to ensure Defenders are taking care of themselves as well, discussing ways to add in some self-care in their day. Definitely worth re-watching and you’ll be able to do that soon on our Defender Only Page.

From A Lawyer’s View

Have you read our latest entry on From A Lawyer’s View? If not, click here to catch up!

Next Week!

February 5, 2021, NC CRED is hosting a free virtual symposium beginning at 1 PM. Please click here to register. Here is a brief synopsis of the program:

“First, a panel of historians (Timothy Lovelace, Seth Kotch, and David Cecelski) will describe the historical origins of these modern forms of brutality. Second, a panel of activists and advocates (Dawn Blagrove, Will Elmore, and Henderson Hill) will discuss the ways racial violence is wielded today and the importance of exposing its historical roots. Finally, keynote speaker James Ferguson will offer closing thoughts on how we reckon with racial terror, in all its forms, to end its grip on our nation.

IDS will continue to offer the webinars as part of a more formal series, which will help make it easier for you to attend, while getting CLE credit! This new series will start on Feb. 4.

If you’d like to attend some or all of the programs, please sign up using this link. We look forward to seeing you on the webinars! 

Social Media

NC CRED is now on social media! Follow them

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nc_cred Instagram: https://instagram.com/nc.cred

And don’t forget to follow us! Twitter: https://twitter.com/ncojd Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NCOJD/

HAVE A GREAT WARM WEEKEND!

From A Lawyer’s View: The Kitchen Sink

Over the past several months, attorneys at the Office of the Juvenile Defender, the Wake County Public Defender’s Office, and my office (the Office of the Appellate Defender) have been strategizing on how to challenge automatic transfer from juvenile court to superior court.  One other attorney – Katie Kerr – served as both scribe and generator-of-ideas.  Katie helped move this process along and deserves a great deal of credit for pulling us over the finish line.  The finish line, of course, are new packets for juvenile defenders to challenge automatic transfer from district court to superior court.

The new packets come in two varieties.  One for 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds and one for 16- and 17-year-olds.  Each packet contains instructions, a motion and a supporting memorandum for district court, and a separation motion and memorandum for superior court. 

Why all the fuss?  There two primary concerns: completeness and waiver. 

Regarding completeness: Those of us who worked on these packets tried to come up with any and all arguments that might convince a court to strike down automatic transfer.  The kitchen sink, you might say.  We might have missed a few arguments, but we included several, including procedural and substantive due process, cruel and unusual punishment, and even the deprivation of the right to counsel.  We don’t know which – if any – of these ideas might work, but we hope that at least one will.

Regarding waiver: Appeals are byzantine.  There are many traps for the unwary, including waiver.  In order to blunt inevitable waiver arguments on appeal, we strongly recommend that you challenge automatic transfer in both juvenile court and adult court.  File the motions and memoranda.  Then, raise all of the arguments orally and get rulings on them all.  As I mentioned above, we might not win on the merits, but we at least want to be able to argue the merits on appeal.

If you have questions about challenging automatic transfer, I encourage you to post them to the juvenile listserv.  I guarantee others will have the same concerns.  And good luck litigating this important issue!

The motions and instructions can be located on the Office of the Juvenile Defender website in the Defender’s Only Section. If you need to obtain access, please contact LaTobia Avent at Latobia.s.avent@nccourts.org


Written by, David Andrews. David W. Andrews is an Assistant Appellate Defender in the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD), a division of the Office of Indigent Defense Services. OAD staff attorneys represent indigent clients in criminal, juvenile delinquency, and involuntary commitment appeals to the Court of Appeals of North Carolina and the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Week in Review: Jan 11-15

Happy Friday Readers! We have another blog for you, filled with resources and upcoming events AND an OJD sponsored CLE. So get settled in and let’s get started.

TIP OF THE WEEK – RTA EDITION

How Will Secure Custody Hearings Be Different for 16 and 17 Year Olds?

Currently, review of secure custody hearings are held every 10 days after the initial secure custody hearing.  For 16 and 17 year old’s charged with a Class A through G offense, review of secure custody hearings are held every 30 days after the initial secure custody hearing.  However, the hearings may be held every 10 days on motion of the juvenile or the juvenile’s attorney for good cause shown.

Resources

Our very own Assistant Juvenile Defender, Kim Howes wrote a blog on the new YASI tool along with some practical advice and a motion. If you haven’t had a chance to read that blog, please click here.

February 5, 2021, NC CRED is hosting a free virtual symposium beginning at 1 PM. Please click here to register. Here is a brief synopsis of the program:

“First, a panel of historians (Timothy Lovelace, Seth Kotch, and David Cecelski) will describe the historical origins of these modern forms of brutality. Second, a panel of activists and advocates (Dawn Blagrove, Will Elmore, and Henderson Hill) will discuss the ways racial violence is wielded today and the importance of exposing its historical roots. Finally, keynote speaker James Ferguson will offer closing thoughts on how we reckon with racial terror, in all its forms, to end its grip on our nation.

CLE Opportunities

Thursday, January OJD is hosting, Trauma Informed Practice. CLE approval is pending and OJD will cover the cost of the CLE for the first 35 registrants. This will be a 90 minute CLE, from 2:30-4:00 PM.

Presented by Jason T. Mahoney, a Certified Trauma-Centered Family Coach & Certified Group Facilitator, the session provides an in depth look at secondary trauma (Vicarious Trauma). It focuses on professionals who work with youth and families. The training includes an overview of how trauma impacts the brain, development and life functioning. The presenter will provide tools to build resiliency, and will offer other skills and resources to help professionals develop a trauma informed practice.

To register for this CLE, please click this link.

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The NACDL is hosting, Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases, February 24-27. This virtual online training will bring some of the nation’s most experienced lawyers and experts to help you understand these issues, offer ideas and proven solutions to assist you in advocating for your client during trial, whether it be insanity defenses, jury selection, cross of expert witnesses, persuasion, or mitigation at sentencing. To view CLE credit and cost and to register, please click here.

_____________

Lastly, you may know or remember from last year that IDS offered 11 free-to-attend webinars on forensic evidence. This year IDS will continue to offer the webinars as part of a more formal series, which will help make it easier for you to attend, while getting CLE credit! This new series will start on Feb. 4.

If you’d like to attend some or all of the programs, please sign up using the link below. We look forward to seeing you on the webinars! 

2021 IDS Forensic Science Education Series

That’s all for this week Readers, thanks for reading and we’ll catch you next week!

Youth Assessment & Screening Instrument (YASI)

Youth Assessment & Screening Instrument (YASI)

by Kim Howes, Assistant Juvenile Defender

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is implementing a new screening tool (YASI) to replace the current risk and needs assessment. The stated purpose of this new assessment is to better measure the risk of recidivism and to help develop an appropriate case plan to best suit the needs of the youth who is placed on probation. You can access the presentation from DJJ here.

The assessment addresses nine domains: basic needs, physical health, school, family, aggression, peers, attitudes, free time, and adaptive skills. There is both a pre-screen assessment and a full assessment. The Department of Juvenile Justice provided an overview of the assessment in November and as a result we want to provide you with some of our concerns as well as provide you with issues you may need to be aware of to assist you with advocating for your client at disposition.

Most importantly, this assessment is designed to take place at intake or prior to adjudication. While statute §7B-2413 specifically provides that the risk and needs assessment shall not be submitted or considered by the court prior to disposition, we know that in some jurisdictions this isn’t the case and information is shared prior to adjudication. This is especially an area of concern given the new assessment. As an important reminder – §7B-2408 explicitly prohibits any statement made by the youth to a juvenile court counselor during intake to be admissible to the court prior to the dispositional hearing.

Issues to be aware of:

  • The child accumulates points for not only prior adjudications, but also referrals and petitions filed for probation violations, regardless of whether or not the violation was adjudicated.
  • Several sections (basic needs, free time, community involvement, school) have the potential to create disparity based on poverty and DSS involvement, not necessarily factors that are in our client’s control.
  • There are broad stroke assumptions about who may or may not be a positive influence and who may or may not be a gang member.
  • The sections addressing attitudes and aggression are areas of significant concern. These sections assume the youth is responsible and if the youth doesn’t admit there are points assessed for impact of behavior and willingness to make amends. There are several additional questions that address sex offenses that could possibly lead to additional petitions.

 These concerns are difficult to address because the majority of these assessments will be conducted prior to assignment of counsel. As a result, depending on your jurisdiction, you may need to proactively ensure that any information received is not provided to the ADA prior to adjudication, and if it is, consider objecting to the court and, if necessary, making a motion to suppress statements made to the court counselor. We have a sample motion here.

We hope by making you aware of this new assessment and its potential issues you will be better able to protect your client’s rights and help the court understand your client in a way that will help the court better address your client’s individual needs at disposition. Please reach out to OJD to let us know of any concerns you see as this is implemented.

You can access and review the pre-screen assessment here, and full assessment here.


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Week in Review: Jan 4-8

Happy New Year Readers! We hope your holiday was relaxing, lazy, and full of what makes you happy. It’s time to get back to work & as always, OJD is here to round up the week.

Tip of the Week

Complaints Received

We are focusing our Tips of the Week on stages of juvenile proceedings that disproportionately impact youth of color. This week we are considering complaints received:

Attorneys are appointed to cases once a complaint is received by juvenile justice, then filed as a complaint.  So generally attorneys can’t impact whether or not a complaint is received.  But attorneys can prevent the case from going to adjudication by:

  • Asking for a dismissal for various reasons, such as the victim no longer wishes to prosecute or the juvenile has already made amends through a mediation program or restitution.
  • Continue the case for an opportunity for the juvenile to participate in a program such as suggested above, or Teen Court if your jurisdiction has one.
  • After an admission, ask the court to informally defer prosecution without an adjudication.  While the Code does not explicitly discuss this, prosecutors have broad discretion to dismiss allegations under N.C.G.S. 7B-2404.  If an adjudication is entered, the court may still “dismiss the case” under 7B-2501(d), in effect not entering a disposition.

Reminders!

  1. You may know or remember from last year that IDS offered 11 free-to-attend webinars on forensic evidence. This year IDS will continue to offer the webinars as part of a more formal series, which will help make it easier for you to attend, while getting CLE credit! This new series will start on Feb. 4.

If you’d like to attend some or all of the programs, please sign up using the link below. We look forward to seeing you on the webinars! 

2. Duke University has only had a handful of responses from NC public defenders, and would really like more so that they can more accurately learn about practices in North Carolina specifically. 

You can find the survey at this link (https://virginia.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3V6Ob2DbXpPl4K9), and it will only take about 10 minutes to complete, and they will mail you a gift-card for your participation. The survey will be closing soon, so please complete it in the next two weeks.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to william.crozier@duke.edu.

3. Have you seen the new Juvenile Code? See a sneak peek below! Thanks to Eric for the picture.

From LaTobia,

I am seeking guest writers for our blog for each month this year, specifically those in juvenile defense or youth advocacy work. Topics will be of your choice, but should include some supporting information such as statutes, cases or graphics. These blogs are geared to help fellow attorneys and create discussion in regards to juvenile proceedings and court processes. Feel free to send me an email at latobia.s.avent@nccourts.org so we can discuss this further or if you’d like to volunteer. Also, feel free to send this message to your colleagues and friends, whoever may be a great contributor. Thanks!