OJD Week in Review: Feb. 12-16

This week there is of course more training to come and a few other events and resources to note.  And we would also like to bring a special notice to the attention of  juvenile defenders:

A Quick Note from IDS

Indigent Defense Services continues to try to address the low hourly rates that resulted from the budget crisis in 2011.  We will once again ask for expansion funding to increase the rates $10 across the board as partial restoration of the pre-May 2011 rates.  However, we face an uphill battle as that cost is over $10 Million.

Earlier this year, we did identify availability in our budget to address a small portion of cases and increased the rate paid for High-Level Felonies (Class A-D) to $75/hour.  Attorneys and judges in delinquency court sometimes forget that the hourly rate for these higher level felonies is different than the usual $55/rate.  For cases disposed of prior to November 1, 2017 where the highest original charge was a Class A-D Felony, the hourly rate should be $70; for cases disposed of November 1, 2017, the rate is $75/hour.

Around the Defender Community

All juvenile justice advocates are welcome to come out to support Scott Holmes who will be honored at the Elna B. Spaulding Founder’s Award Partner’s for Peace Celebration.  Scott is an assistant clinical professor of law and supervising attorney of the Civil Litigation Clinic at North Carolina Central University.  He has long been a champion for the rights of children, immigrants, and the mentally ill and he has represented jail, protesters, Black Lives Matter protesters, families of minorities killed by police, and many other activists and disadvantaged groups.  The event will take place on  Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 at Hill House on 900 S. Street, Durham, N.C.  Advanced tickets are $30 and tickets can be purchased at the door for $35.  More event details can be found here.

Earlier this week, Youth First released a video titled “Jim Crow Juvenile Justice”.  The film explores the history of youth prisons, including the correlation between the 13th Amendment and the creation of these institutions, and examines the modern juvenile justice system from a racial-justice standpoint.  Please take a moment to view the short film here.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will be hosting a webinar from 2-3 p.m. on Feb. 20 to provide information for its FY18 Juvenile Justice Emergency Planning Demonstration Program.  The webinar will cover project scope, eligibility requirements and other information for those interested in applying to support this project.  Please check out OJJDP’s website for more details and you can register here for the webinar.

Training Time, Y’all!

Registration is open for Higher-Level Felony Defense, Part I.  This training will take place April 9-10 and will offer 9.0 CLE credit hours.  Topics will include working with investigators and experts, building rapport with clients, investigation and discovery, the theory of defense, and third-party records.  Space is limited for only 36 participants, so please hurry if you are interested in participating!  Members of public defender offices should get approval from the Chief Public Defender to register and contractors and privately assigned counsel must receive a fellowship from IDS Director Tom Maher.  For more information on registration, the agenda, and hotel information please visit here.

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The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform(CJJR) is accepting applications for its Youth in Custody Certificate Program, to be held June 11–15, 2018, at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  This training is designed for juvenile justice system leaders and partners working to improve outcomes for youth in post-adjudication custody.  The curriculum covers critical areas, including culture change and leadership, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, and reentry planning and support.  Upon approval of a Capstone Project Proposal initiating or building on local reform efforts, participants receive an Executive Certificate from Georgetown University and join the CJJR Fellows Network of more than 850 individuals.  Applications will be accepted until March 2.

We also would like to remind everyone that registration for the 2018 Child Support Enforcement: Representing Respondents seminar is open until Monday, Feb. 19.  The seminar itself will take place on March 1 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and it will offer 6 hours of CLE credit, including one hour of ethics/responsibility.  For registration, directions, and other details, please visit here.

New Resource

The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics released a report earlier this week providing details from its survey of state criminal history information systems.  The survey was conducted by administrators of the state criminal history record repositories and offers information on topics ranging from noncriminal justice background checks to state criminal history files and accessibility to records and services through state repositories.  The report can be viewed here.

That is all for this week.  We will be updating our channels with new podcasts and other information & if you are interested in participating in a podcast or submitting a guest blog, please contact us to let us know.  We will also be providing more news regarding Raise the Age and other initiatives over time, so please be sure to keep up with us on all of our channels.

From a Non-Lawyer Perspective: 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference Review by Marcus Thompson

On Friday, Aug. 11, juvenile defenders from across N.C. united at the U.N.C. School of Government for the 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference — and I had the honor of being among the 50+ attendees!  Only approaching my first full year as a part of the Juvenile Defender family, I was pretty excited to be able to attend this annual conference and observe juvenile defenders from various districts interact and share ideas and experiences from their time in juvenile court.  In my short time with the Office of the Juvenile Defender, I have  had the opportunity to learn about case law, the “lawyer lingo”, and other things, but this training was a great experience to not only refresh my memory of materials I’ve encountered before, but to also gain further insight into the juvenile justice system.

Program Attorney Austine Long started the event, welcoming everyone and encouraging defenders to offer suggestions for future training courses before introducing Martin Moore, assistant public defender of Buncombe County.

Moore discussed detention hearings, going over the types and culture of detention, secure custody and strategies for preparing for hearings.  Moore acknowledged that some areas of the state do not always follow their own guidelines for detention hearings.  “No one is in a better position to help the juvenile than themselves,” Moore said, emphasizing to attendees the importance of listening to the client and knowing as much as possible about their history, mental health state, and relationships when preparing for hearings.  When he posed a question to the audience about juveniles being placed in adult facilities for pre-adjudication secure custody (which violates G.S. 7B-1905), some defenders stated that this is often a result of juveniles having lied about their age, which initially surprised me.  I would have assumed in some cases it may have been the error of the police.  One participant also stated that juvenile defenders should ensure that juveniles’ info is redacted if they are placed in an adult facility for any reason.  On the topic of shackling during secure custody hearings, Moore also stated that it was “generally something we should argue against” and others concurred, pointing out the most effective argument with judges was that shackling a child would require more paperwork.  Towards the end of his presentation, Moore gave attendees a couple of hypothetical scenarios and allowed them to role play to demonstrate how they argue on behalf of a client in a detention hearing.

Following Moore, Mary Stansell, assistant public defender of Wake County, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes presented on motions to suppress.  The pair addressed In re Gault, what qualifies as custodial interrogation, children’s understanding of their rights, and violations of 4th amendment rights.  Stansell and Howes stressed that a statement can’t be used against a child in custody unless a parent is there, but children believe that the “right to remain silent” means “until a cop asks a question”, most likely due to being naturally submissive to adults and intimidated by authority figures.  The cases of Saldierna and J.D.B. were also addressed while discussing juveniles’ voluntary waiver of rights.  Identification of juveniles in court and search and seizure were also brought up before attendees were broken out into groups to work on a case study.

After lunch was provided, Terri Johnson, an attorney from Statesville, took the lead to discuss capacity, covering statutes, cases, and how to handle evaluations and issues.  Johnson emphasized looking for indicators of capacity such as age, nature and location of the offense, language barriers and a history of social, mental, or physical health issues.  She also talked about finding experts to evaluate a client’s capacity to proceed in court and common arguments made by assistant district attorneys and juvenile court counselors.  One common argument was that juveniles were manipulative and would lie simply to avoid getting into trouble.  Johnson also said that sometimes judges will commit juveniles due to lack of options or because they believe that just putting juveniles on probation will get them the mental health treatment that they need.  Having no interactions with the legal system in my teenage years beyond a couple of traffic violations, it was kind of disheartening to hear that this was the way people, especially kids with various problems, were perceived and treated in the courts.

Once Johnson finished her segment, LaToya Powell, assistant professor of public law and government for the U.N.C. School of Government, arrived to discuss updates to juvenile law in the past year.   I was very familiar with all of the cases that Powell discussed, having read her opinions and writing case summaries for our office, but the review of these cases was welcomed.  Powell succinctly summarized many of the most impactful cases, including Saldierna, T.K.D.E.P.  and the recent Raise the Age legislation.  While addressing Saldierna, Powell stated that a juvenile cannot waive the right to have a parent or attorney present during questioning due to special protections provided under General Statute 7B-2101.  After reviewing the whole series of decisions from SaldiernaPowell also noted that as of Aug. 3rd, the State had filed a motion for temporary stay on the case.  Once she summarized some of the other recent appellate court decisions, Powell went on to discuss the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, pointing out the benefits to everyone involved in the juvenile justice system, but also addressing some potential issues with the new laws, such as conflicting terms in the new gang suppression section with current criminal gang suppression rules.

Finally, James Drennan, adjunct and former Albert Coates professor for the U.N.C. School of Government, took the podium to lead the ethics portion of the training.  This part of the training was more like the psychology/philosophy class I wish I had during my college years and was applicable not only to juvenile defense, but all professions.  Drennan discussed implicit biases, which he said exists “in all of us.  No one is immune to it.”

“There is an elemental, primal need to feel like you are being treated fairly,” Drennan said after showing a video of two monkeys being rewarded, one with grapes and the other with cucumbers (resulting in its frustration) for performing the same task.  He shared statistics and reports that showed fairness is what is most desired in our court system by people, but more people from various backgrounds perceive the justice system as unfair to minorities.

Drennan also engaged attendees in several exercises to test their perception, demonstrating our fast-thinking and slow-thinking processes and how our intuitive feelings and programming from a young age affects our judgment.   Drennan spoke about how his own southern upbringing taught him to accept racial disparities as a norm and certain behaviors were maligned by the society he grew up in, and despite his life experiences, these ideas instilled in him from his youth still linger, unable to be unlearned.  He also said that controlling our fast-thinking processes when interacting with new groups or individuals and observing the patterns in our decision-making processes are important to help us to avoid our own prejudices.

Every presentation was engaging and surprisingly easy to follow, even for someone like myself, without a background in law.  While I’ve only observed a few juvenile court cases, it was good to know how other defenders prepare to present their juveniles’ cases and what must be considered prior to going in front of the judge.  It also provided clarity for me about the challenges from all sides that juvenile defenders must deal with inside and outside the courtroom.  It was also great being able to put more faces to the names I’ve seen in the past few months.  After this first year, I look forward to the 2018 Juvenile Defender Conference, and I hope to hear from and see more of the front line defenders.

If you missed the conference or would just like to review the presentations, you can find a copy of the course materials with additional references here.

“Extended YDC Commitments and the 30-Day Notice Requirement” by Professor LaToya Powell

From the “On the Civil Side” blog, please take a moment to review Professor LaToya Powell’s latest post regarding how to determine a juvenile’s maximum commitment period to a youth development center and the requirements for extending the commitment beyond the designated period.  In her post, Powell explains the limitations for maximum sentencing, based on age and the level of the offense, and what conditions must be fulfilled to qualify a 30-day notice to extend a commitment to a YDC.  Please find the full article here.

Registration is Now Open for the 2017 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences

We are excited to announce that registration for the 2017 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences is now open and available at https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/parent-attorney-conference (Parent Attorney Conference) and https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/juvenile-defender-conference (Juvenile Defender Conference). Both conferences, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, offer approximately six hours of CLE credit and feature speakers from across the state. The agendas are posted on the conference webpages, shown above.

PARENT ATTORNEY CONFERENCE (August 10, 2017)

The Parent Attorney Conference provides training for attorneys, who represent parents in abuse,

neglect, dependency, and termination of parental rights proceedings. This year’s conference will focus on looking ahead to address areas in which the parent attorney can enhance the practice.  In addition to a case law update, the conference will include sessions on the admissibility of digital evidence, changing visitation to family time, parent’s rights after removal, who speaks for a child’s best interest and implicit bias.

JUVENILE DEFENDER CONFERENCE (August 11, 2017)

The Juvenile Defender Conference provides training for attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings. This year’s conference will focus on the practical application of detention hearings, motions to suppress and capacity to proceed. It will also include a case law update and a session on using scientific literature to advance In re Gault.

 

Participants: The Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences are open to public defenders, appellate defenders, and other parent and juvenile defenders who handle a significant number of court-appointed cases.

Location, Dates, and Times: These conferences will be held Thursday, August 10 and Friday, August 11, respectively, at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Sign-in is 8:00 to 8:30 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:

If you would like to attend both conferences, you must register for each separately. The registration deadline for both conferences is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27.  There is no onsite registration.

Fee: Thanks to support from IDS, there is no fee for IDS state employees. The registration fee for private assigned counsel is $160, which includes all materials, parking, breaks, and lunch.

Hotel Information:

A block of rooms has been set aside on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Express of Chapel Hill/Durham at a reduced nightly rate of $80 plus tax, which includes a hot breakfast and high speed wireless internet access. The Holiday Inn Express is located at 6119 Farrington Road in Chapel Hill. When reserving online, go to www.hiexpress.com/chapelhillnc and use the group code PJC (all caps). To make a reservation by phone, call the hotel directly at 919.489.7555 and provide the name and dates of the program. These rooms are being held on a first-come, first-served basis. You are responsible for making your own hotel reservation. The reservation deadline for the block rate is July 18, 2017.

 Credit: Each program will offer approximately six hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit.  The Parent Attorney Conference qualifies for NC State Bar family law specialization credit and the Juvenile Defender Conference qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit.

Additional Information: We look forward to seeing you in August.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact me, Tanya Jisa—Program Manager—at jisa@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.

A Brief Word on the Harms of Juvenile Detention and Juvenile Probation Order Reform

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What’s the harm in putting a child in a detention center?  While it might be argued that juvenile detention is in the best interest of the child prior to trial, statistical data proves otherwise.  The detrimental affects on youth and their families for even brief periods of containment in juvenile detention are detailed here.

Probation orders are also a common problem, and probation just happens to be the most common disposition given to juveniles adjudicated delinquent.  The rules of probation are difficult to understand and follow for most juveniles, and if not tailored appropriately to the child, the rules can be easily violated and lead to long-term repercussions on them.  In order for probation to yield the intended positive effects for youth, change is greatly needed.  You can learn more here.

Both articles above were recently published by the National Juvenile Defender Center.

Roundtable Discussion: The Intersection of Youth in Detention and Mental Health Issues – Greensboro, September 30, 2016

On Friday, September 30th, 2016, there will be a Roundtable Discussion on the Intersection of Youth in Detention and Mental Health Issues at the Guilford County HR Building, Greensboro, North Carolina.  There will be a Networking Lunch from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm.  Training begins at 1:00 pm to end no later than 4:00 pm.

The training will feature Carmen Graves, Chief Court Counselor for Guilford County, Doug Logan, Director of Guilford County Court Alternatives and the Guilford County Detention Center, and Teresa Ibarra from the Children’s Hope Alliance.  See attached flyer for details.

Please RSVP to Eric Zogry at Eric.J.Zogry@nccourts.org by Friday, September 23rd.

This training is being offered for free and sponsored by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and the NC Office of the Juvenile Defender. The training is open to any attorney interested in discussing mental health and detention issues that arise in juvenile court.