Week In Review: March 23-27

Welcome to Friday! OJD would again like to thank all of our public defenders who are continuing their work while a crisis sweeps through our state. This week we want to focus on some resources and news regarding the youth in secure custody. As stated earlier this week, courts around the country are limiting or altogether restricting visitation to juvenile detention to combat the spread of COVID-19. While at a base level these limitations are important to the safety and physical health of these youth, another issue has come from these sweeping changes: added mental health stress. We want to equip our defenders with as much information as we can to advocate for those currently in YDCs or detention centers.

Secure Custody Tip of the Week:

Use of Audio/Video Transmission for Secure Custody Hearings 

North Carolina law allows for the use of audio and video transmission for secure custody hearings.  Under 7B-1906(h), note specifically that “[I]f the juvenile has counsel, the juvenile may communicate fully and confidentially with the juvenile’s attorney during the proceeding.” 

Currently your court may not have the equipment needed to perform these hearings.  But if your court does have the equipment, here are a few tips to consider: 

  • When possible, collaborate with stakeholders on how to develop rules or protocols that will ensure clients’ rights are considered, especially confidential communications.
  • Having the ability to engage in confidential communications with your client is paramount, so be mindful of the type of technology used to converse with your client.  Also, there should be created a space where others cannot hear your or your client’s discussions.  For example, don’t use a phone without some kind of barrier prevent others from hearing your conversation. 
  • Check out the School of Government’s Professor Jacqui Greene’s recent article on secure custody.  

Courts may be considering other communication platforms as well, such as Facetime, Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams.  If any of these are utilized, try to maintain confidentiality as best possible by ensuring other participants are in closed rooms or otherwise out of sight and sound of others. 

Use your best judgement, and always feel free to contact our office with any questions. 

COVID-19 Resources

Throughout the week we have received numerous resources regarding court, secure custody and COVID-19. We wanted to round those up for you here.

FD.ORG COVID-19 Resources: The Defender Services Office and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts have collected information from around the country for defense council varying from appeals, compassionate release, and access to council.

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform: A letter written by Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform urging governors, juvenile court systems, and state and local juvenile detention and correctional departments to address the health pandemic by swiftly implementing recommendations in juvenile facilities.

Due Process Challenges in a Time of Crisis Webinar: A webinar opportunity that may shed some light on the challenges the legal system is currently experiencing due to the Coronavirus. A little information can go a long way in times like this. 

ADA Letter Regarding COVID-19 & Diabetes: Shared by NACDL,  a letter the American Diabetes Association has created to help educate courts, detention center, and other officials on the unique challenges and risks for individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It can be used alongside bond/release motions or shared with local law enforcement.

ABA Non-CLE Webinar on NJ’s Rapid Release: On Sunday, March 22, 2020, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court entered an Order providing for the commutation or suspension of many county jail sentences. his webinar will feature many of the key players to discuss the actual terms of the Order, how they came to agreement and how this agreement might serve as a model for decreasing jail populations to limit the spread of COVID-19 in other states.

Resources for Private Council & Small Businesses: Provided by one of our contract attorneys, Donna Terrell, this is a great resource for staying engaged with clients and potential clients while running a private practice.

HAVE SAFE SOCIAL DISTANCING WEEKEND!

Week in Review: March 16-20

Welcome to Friday, March 20. As we recognize this week was more difficult than most, OJD would like to thank everyone for their patience and dedication to making sure our youth are taken care of, still well represented and fought for. Defenders, you are superheroes.

Appeals Tip of the Week: Courtesy of David Andrews, Office of the Appellate Defender

Suppression motions and admissions – Give the prosecutor and the court notice of the juvenile’s intent to appeal the suppression order before the juvenile enters the admission AND enter notice of appeal from the dispositional order (not from the suppression order)! 

Court Updates

There have been a few court updates and directives by Chief Justice Beasley to help our community slow the spread of COVID-19. Read below for announcements from the North Carolina Judicial Branch and NCAOC Communications.

On March 13, she issued two emergency directivespostponing most cases in superior and district courts for 30 days and instructing local officials to take steps to limit the risk of exposure in courthouses.

On March 15, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley issued a memo providing guidance to local judges, clerks, and district attorneys as they worked to implement earlier directives. The memo allowed for the public and court personnel to practice social distancing and other preventative measures recommended by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control. 

On March 19, she announced an order extending filing deadlines and further curtailing other court processes. The order states that documents due to be filed from March 16 to April 17 will be deemed timely filed if received before the close of business on April 17, 2020, and that any actions required to be done during that time can also be postponed until April 17, 2020. 

If you have any questions regarding these orders, please contact your local clerk or visit the Juno website.

North Carolina Celebrates 50 Years of Public Defense

March 18 was declared Public Defender Day in North Carolina by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Governor Roy Cooper. The first public defender office opened in January, 1970 in Guilford County. Cumberland and Hoke counties opened offices in the summer that same year. 

OJD is an office full of public defenders and we are happy to help train, develop and support those who currently support our juvenile justice community, those who are just starting juvenile work, and those who will in the future. Here’s a couple shots of OJD in their Anniversary shirts (well, Eric and LaTobia).

Week in Review: Feb 9-13

Good Morning Readers! We know it has been a chaotic week and one filled with a bit of stress. So we’ll keep it light and airy, an easy blog post for your enjoyment.

Appeals Tip of the Week: Courtesy of David Andrews, Office of the Appellate Defender

Suppression motions and contested adjudicatory hearings – If the suppression motion is denied, object when the evidence is admitted at the adjudication hearing because the failure to do so creates a heavier burden on appeal. A pretrial ruling on a motion to suppress is “preliminary,” which means the juvenile must object when evidence is offered during the adjudication hearing. State v. Waring, 364 N.C. 443 (2010). The failure to object when the evidence is admitted subjects the argument to plain error review on appeal. State v. Stokes, 357 N.C. 220 (2003).

Training

An announcement regarding the upcoming Watauga County CLE will be posted later today due to COVID concerns.

Need something to listen to while you work? How about the OJD Podcast?

You can listen to the new podcast here on Soundcloud. Our first episode features Dorothy Hairson-Mitchell, Clinical Assistant Professor/Supervising Attorney Juvenile Law Clinic, NC Central University School of Law, Durham, NC. We have new episodes coming soon!

Stay Safe! See you next week!

Intensive Juvenile Defender Training, March 4-5, 2020

From the UNC School of Government:

We are excited to announce that the 2020 Intensive Juvenile Defender Training, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held on March 4-5, 2020 at the UNC School of Government.

It is designed for attorneys representing juveniles in delinquency proceedings for less than two years or who have not practiced in this area for a period of time. The course will include, among other topics, sessions on detention advocacy, pre-adjudication investigation and discovery, juvenile capacity, suppression, dispositions, and the impact of the Raise the Age legislation.

The training will offer approximately 12.75 hours of CLE credit, which includes one hour of ethics. The tentative agenda is posted on the course page. Final session times may vary depending on the schedules of the instructors

PARTICIPANTS: The Intensive Juvenile Defender Training is open to public defenders and private attorneys who represent juveniles in delinquency proceedings or attorneys who want to practice in this area.

TIMES: Check-in will be on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 from 8:30 am, and the program will begin at 9:00 am. The program ends on Thursday March 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

REGISTRATION: To register online, as well as to find directions and other program information, please visit: https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/intensive-juvenile-defender-training

The registration fee for private assigned counsel is $310. Thanks to support from IDS, there is no fee for IDS employees. Pre-registration is required and space is limited; the online registration deadline is 5:00pm on wednesday Feburary 26, 2020. There is no onsite registration.

HOTEL INFORMATION: A block of rooms has been set up at the newly renovated Holiday Inn Express Chapel Hill with a rate of $84.00 plus tax. The rate includes a full deluxe hot breakfast and Wi-Fi. To reserve a room online please click the link  Intensive Juvenile Defender    To reserve a room by phone call the hotel at 919-489-7555 and provide the name Group Code “I J D”. To receive the discounted rate reservations must be made no later than February 14, 2020.

TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT – STATE EMPLOYEES ONLY: If you are an IDS employee, your eligibility for travel reimbursement at the state rate is contingent upon state rules and regulations. For all questions regarding travel reimbursement, please contact Elisa Wolper at 919-354-7243 or elisa.wolper@nccourts.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: We look forward to seeing you in March.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact me, Kate Jennings – Program Manager – at jennings@sog.unc.edu or Professor John Rubin at rubin@sog.unc.edu.

Week in Review: Dec 6-10

It’s the first week back from a long holiday break and OJD has been busy with all things #RaiseTheAge. Have a question or a case you could use some help on? Don’t hesistate to give us a call. We are here for you!

Januar January 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of North Carolina’s Public Defender System. Take a look at Eric with North Carolina’s FIRST Public Defender, Wallace “Wally” C. Harrelson.

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

Training!

Today Eric & Austine are traveling to Lenoir County for a Raise the Age and Juvenile Basics CLE. It’s from 1-4. See the flyer below!

2020 JTIP Summer Academy

The deadline for applications to the 2020 JTIP Summer Academy is fast approaching! Applications are due no later than January 12th, 2020, 11:59 PM EST.

*If you have already applied for the JTIP Summer Academy or you plan to submit an application, please contact Austine Long as soon as possible.

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Initiative are excited be accepting applications for the 2020 Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) Summer Academy, which will be held in Washington, DC from May 31 – June 6, 2020.

For more information on how to apply visit https://njdc.info/our-work/jtip/jtip-summer-academy/ or see the attached application.

JOB OPPORTUNITY!

Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) is seeking a Staff Attorney for their Education Team with a Juvenile Justice and Race Equity Focus. The Staff Attorney will work to ensure equity in the education and criminal justice systems; represent students in special education, and school discrimination matters, including youth in juvenile detention facilities; train attorneys, advocates and other stakeholders; and participate in policy initiatives related to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Send a resume and detailed letter of interest explaining your qualifications and interest in the position to: virginia.fogg@disabilityrightsnc.org. Include Staff Attorney – Education in the subject line of the email. No phone calls please.

Exciting News!

OJD is preparing to record our first podcast of the year! Interested in being a guest? Email LaTobia for a reservation!

Week in Review: Dec 16-20

Happy Friday Readers! We’re back with another Week in Review and a great Raise the Age Tip for you. The office has been buzzing with questions regarding procedure and changes due to RTA. What are some things you’ve run into since its implementation? Share with us in the comments.

RAISE THE AGE TIP OF THE WEEK!

Where Is My Client Being Held?

All juveniles under the 18 shall be held in a juvenile detention center or in a facility approved by the Juvenile Justice Section of the Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice.  This also includes juveniles who have been transferred to superior court.  If a juvenile has been transferred to superior court and turns 18 while awaiting competition of the case, the juvenile is to be held in the custody of the sheriff where the charges arose.

Assistant Juvenile Defender Interviews

OJD has started the very hard processing of interviewing for our new Assistant Juvenile Defender. They’ll be positioned in the Western part of NC and will be working to establish a focal resource point for all things juvenile delinquency, community building and training. Can you tell we’re going to have a hard time choosing just one? Everyone is already amazing.

If you haven’t seen it already, take a look at Eric’s Holiday Video.

With less than a week away from Christmas, we hope you have all your shopping out the way. If not, be safe and grab a hot chocolate or two. Stay warm!

RAISE THE AGE IS IN EFFECT!

As of Sunday 12/01/2019 at 12:00 AM the Raise the Age initiative is in effect. That means that any 16 and 17 year old who commit crimes (with exceptions) will no longer be charged as adults.

For more information about implementation, please feel free to contact the NC Office of the Juvenile Defender at 919-890-1650.