Week in Review: Mar 30-Apr 3


Happy Friday Readers & Welcome to a brand new month. We know it may not feel like it, but it goes without saying how we appreciate our essential workers, in both private and public sectors. You are the heroes.

TIP OF THE WEEK!

This week’s tip of the week is highlighting a juvenile delinquency case that defenders need to be aware of when your client wants to testify. In re J.B. was decided in 2018. The State appealed the original Court of Appeals decision, but the N.C. Supreme Court denied a hearing. 

Briefly, the facts showed the juvenile chose to testify on his own behalf and incriminated himself (he admitted that he committed an assault on his teacher). The trial court did not inquire as to whether the juvenile understood his right against self-incrimination before he testified. The trial court asked the juvenile if he understood his rights after he testified, and the Court of Appeals determined that was not sufficient to satisfy the requirements under N.C.G.S. §7B-2405 and the error was not harmless.

So – if your client wants to testify, the court must inform the juvenile of his/her constitutional and statutory right against self-incrimination before s/he testifies!

In re J.B., 820 S.E.2d 369 (2018).

OUR NEW ASSISTANT JUVENILE DEFENDER TERRI JOHNSON!

Terri is a lifelong resident of Iredell County, North Carolina.  She 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.  Since 2003, she has been in private practice as an associate and partner in small firms and then as a solo practitioner.  Her practice areas included criminal law, family law and juvenile law and has focused on juvenile law as a contract attorney in delinquency court in both Iredell and Alexander counties.  She will continue to represent juveniles in Iredell and Alexander county as she joins the Juvenile Defender’s Office as an assistant defender for the Western District of North Carolina.

She currently resides in Statesville, North Carolina and enjoys spending time with her family, reading and photography.

WELCOME TERRI!

Resources

  • Yesterday, NJDC issued a statement on COVID-19 and the urgent need for the juvenile legal system to act. The statement is available on the Defender App. NJDC also released a new resource: Guidance to Juvenile Courts on Conducting Remote Hearings During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The resource is attached to this email and also available on NJDC’s website here
  • Save the Date! NJDC’s Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit will be in Kansas City, Missouri October 16-18, 2020.
  • NCCAY created a brief survey to share your current challenges and creative solutions with the DPS Juvenile Services Division and, in turn, contact you with what we have learned that may help you in your work. You can take the survey here.
  • JCPC has had to make the difficult decision to cancel our legislative conference this year.  Those that have already paid their registration will receive a refund. Please be sure to cancel your hotel reservations as well. 

HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND!

Week in Review: March 2-6

What a week for OJD! Started off smooth sailing and then 2 days at the UNC School of Government for the Intensive Juvenile Defender Training. But we’ll get to that later, first substance!

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

If the trial attorney does not file any motion to suppress, (or make an oral motion as allowed by §7B-2408.5(e)), the juvenile cannot raise a suppression issue on appeal. State v. Miller, 2018 N.C. LEXIS 425. If the juvenile made a confession or was subject to a search or seizure, you should strongly consider filing and litigating a suppression motion.

NEW COA OPINIONS!

There has been a new Court of Appeals opinion and we have that available to you on our website under Materials for Defenders > Case Summaries. Remember this page has many different summaries that can help you in your defense. Here’s a link to In The Matter of H.D.H. the most recent update.

2020 Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section Annual Meeting

The NCBA Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section are having their annual meeting and CLE on Thursday, May 4, 2020 at the NC Bar Center in Cary. The topic discuss Raise the Age in different aspects, such as: The Juvenile Court Counselors View, School to Prision Pipeline and will also have a Juvenile Justice Panel. Check-in begins at 8:30 AM and the CLE will end at 12:15. If you are interested, you can reach out to Eric for more information.

UPCOMING TRAINING!

Last but not least! Training Recap: 2020 Intensive Juvenile Defender Training at UNC SOG.

2 full days of learning at the UNC School of Government did not go unappreciated. Defenders learned topics ranging from Adolescent Behavior to Disposition Advocacy. Packed with workshops and discussions on how to advocate for our youth, UNC and OJD did a great job of bringing defenders out and lifting them up in the defense community. Take a look at some photos below.

OJD Week in Review: Mar. 26 – 30

Even though this is a short week, we’ve got some new updates to share that could be useful to the juvenile defense community in the coming months.

From Around the Community

On Mar. 16, Campbell Law School hosted a Raise the Age luncheon featuring Rep. Marcia Morey and a diverse panel of voices from around the juvenile defense community which included Juvenile Defender Eric ZogryGeneral Counsel and Policy Advisor of the Office of the Lt. Governor Steven WalkerNCGA Legislative Analysis Division Staff Attorney Tawanda Foster, and others.  For anyone interested, there is now video available for the 2-hour event.  Check it out below.

The N.C. Bar Association has posted a new blog discussing our state’s new expunction laws.  This article, written by Tarrah Callahan, executive director of Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform, and Daniel Bowes, staff attorney at Workers’ Rights Project/ Second Chance Initiative, touches on the difficulty of obtaining expunctions in the past and breaks down the recent changes to the law.  You can read their full article here.

Training

Registration is now open for N.C. Bar Association’s annual meeting, this year titled “The Future of Law”.   This event will be hosted at the Wilmington Convention Center from June 21 – 24.  For those who register before May 1, a President’s Luncheon ticket and 6.0 CLE credit hours will be included with the registration price.  Topics covered will include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, design thinking in the law, and the future of legal service delivery.  For further info and to register please check out the NCBA website and the event brochure.

On May 10, the N.C. Bar Association will be hosting “Raise the Age: A New Era for Juvenile Justice in North Carolina” at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary, from 8:25 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This seminar promises to expand attendees’ understanding of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act and its practical and ethical implications.  Attendees will receive 5.5 CLE credits total, with 1.0 CLE credit in Ethics/Professional Responsibility and 4.5 General CLE credits.  For further details about this event, please check the website here.

Disability Rights North Carolina will be hosting its 2018 Disability Advocacy Conference on Apr. 19.  The conference offers 5.0 CLE credits for lawyers, which includes 1.0 credit hour for substance abuse/mental health awareness.  Sessions include parental rights, restrictive interventions in public schools, guardianship reforms, and a session exclusively tailored to attorneys titled “Recognizing and Responding to a Lawyer with a Mental Health Disorder”, just to name a few.  To learn more about this event and register please visit their web page here.

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Job Opportunities

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is currently hiring a strategic communications manager.  The individual in this position will be responsible for crafting organizational messaging, overseeing editorial excellence, and working with leadership to implement a communications strategy that is creative, forward-thinking, and reflective of NJDC’s vision.  This position will remain opened until filled.  To find further info about the position and how to apply, please go here.

The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) is seeking a mid-level policy attorney to handle youth justice issues in Santa Clara County.  Applications will be accepted through Apr. 15.  For further details and to apply please check here.

The UNC School of Government is seeking a tenure-track full-time permanent assistant professor of juvenile justice and criminal law.  The selected candidate for this position will be expected “to write for, advise, plan courses for, and teach” public officials, including judges, magistrates, law enforcement, prosecutors and defenders.  Applications will remain open until the position is filled.  The expected starting date for the new hire will be July 1.  Please find the full details for the position and how to apply here.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is still accepting applications for its 2018-19 Youth Justice Leadership Institute.  This is an annual year-long fellowship program that selects 10 people of color working as professionals in the juvenile justice field to participate in a curriculum to develop their leadership and advocacy skills.  The fellowship can be completed with the fellows’ current employment, so those selected will not have to leave their jobs to participate in the Institute.  The fellowship will include two fully financed retreats, mentoring and frequent distance learning opportunities.  NJJN will host an informational webinar on Apr. 2 that you can register for here.  Applications for the Institute (found here) must be submitted by Apr. 23.

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This wraps up our short week in review and we just want to wish everyone a safe and happy Easter weekend (or vacation week if we don’t catch you next week)!  Be sure to check back on here again soon!

Governor Cooper Acknowledges Raise the Age at the Capitol

Today in the Old House Chamber of the Capitol, Governor Roy Cooper acknowledged the passing of the Raise the Age Bill and signed the Expungement Process Modifications Bill.  In a short but sweet ceremony, the governor thanked several representatives and others who worked to champion both bills and briefly spoke about extending second chances to adults and the importance of improving the juvenile justice system as well.

“North Carolina may be the last [state to raise the age], but we will not be the least,” Gov. Cooper said to the applause of the audience prior to signing the bills.

Please find a full video of the occasion on the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page here.

 

A Summary of the NCCALJ Committee on Criminal Investigation and Adjudication’s Juvenile Reinvestment Report

The N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice’s Committee on Criminal Investigation and Adjudication is recommending that North Carolina raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include all youth under the age of 18 for all crimes.  Juveniles aged 16 and 17 charged with the most serious felonies may be transferred to the adult system after a finding of probable cause or indictment.  Other recommendations include reducing school-based recommendations to the juvenile justice system and regular training for law enforcement in handling juveniles.  This proposal also recommends more information be provided for law enforcement officers who may interact with juveniles and that information on juvenile records should be more accessible to prosecutors.

Since 1919, North Carolina has been the only state to treat youth ages 16 and 17 years old as adults in the justice system without exception.  However, substantial evidence supports that keeping individuals under the age of 18 in the juvenile justice system rather than the criminal justice system would have a significant beneficial impact on everyone involved, including benefiting the justice system economically.

Statistical data indicates that 96.7 percent of convictions for youth are usually for nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors, with misdemeanors making up 80.4 percent of these crimes.  Scientific studies suggest that because of the maturity level of the brain, for teens the ability to reason and control impulsive behaviors is very limited.  Reports from the John Locke Foundation also support that youth convicted in the criminal court system are actually more likely to be repeat offenders due to light sentencing for petty crimes, less support, and immaturity of the brain to consider the consequences of their actions.  Several United States Supreme Court cases have also held that the treatment of juveniles as adults in certain circumstances violates their Eighth Amendment right.

Research also shows a lower rate of recidivism for youth kept in the juvenile justice system rather than the criminal justice system, because those placed in the juvenile justice system are more likely to rehabilitate and are less likely to commit crimes as adults, resulting in less crime and safer communities.  By reducing recidivism rates the government’s costs of maintaining youth who would become part of the adult system would also be reduced, and the increased lifetime earnings of youth kept out of the adult system, given the chance for better education and better employment, would also benefit the economy.

Adults from North Carolina who possess a criminal record due to an incident that occurred in their youth are placed at a competitive disadvantage with those who may have been adjudicated delinquent in other states when it comes to job opportunities.  When youth go to trial in criminal court, whether they are found guilty or not, all information becomes available on the public record, which may negatively affect youth for the rest of their lives in many areas, including obtaining employment, education, and public housing.  In contrast, youthful offenders adjudicated as juveniles have a greater chance to be rehabilitated through other alternatives and their record remains confidential.  Even though expunction is an option, it rarely happens, the legal fees may be problematic for some, and it does nothing to erase information about arrests and convictions presented in the media.

The juvenile justice system also allows more parental and community involvement to assist in the rehabilitation process, which includes mental health, education, and social services participation to encourage a greater social contribution, future societal contributions, and less chance of recidivism.  While some fear that raising the age will allow gang-affiliated youth more time to recruit for illegal activities, statistics show that roughly 8 percent of juveniles are associated with gang-related activity.  Those youth with gang connections are also more likely to perform better if they remain in the juvenile justice system because they are exposed to gang awareness and substance abuse programs, but those placed in the adult system do not have access to the same programming.

Because of high rates of juveniles being referred to the court system by schools for minor behavioral issues, new methods to remedy this problem have also been developed.  School-justice partnership programs have proved to be an effective method for reduction of juveniles entering into the criminal justice system and increased graduation rates.  Wilmington is one of the first cities in N.C. to adopt proposals for mediation and school conflict training programs that have gained approval since their introduction in other states.

It has been argued that raising the age could negatively affect public safety, overcrowd detention facilities, increase caseloads in the juvenile justice system, and result in unmanageable fiscal costs.  However, as demonstrated by states such as Illinois and Connecticut, raising the age of jurisdiction proved far more beneficial as opposed to the practice of lowering the age, which Rhode Island attempted in 2007, only to rescind the law shortly after due to poor results.  Illinois and Connecticut both reported that the juvenile justice system maintained caseloads at a lower rate than expected, spending on the state budget was reduced, public safety did not suffer, and the need for juvenile detention and incarceration facilities actually declined as a result of raising the age.

In North Carolina, due to already declining numbers in the delinquency rate, the reduction in pretrial detentions and commitments to youth development centers, and closures of detention facilities, the Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice has already saved more than $44 million from the 2008-2009 fiscal year to the present.  The money that the state has already saved as a result of these factors can contribute greatly to the estimated cost for the state to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction.

Two fairly recent studies on raise the age legislation commissioned by the N.C. General Assembly (performed by the Legislative Research Commission and the Youth Accountability Task Force) affirm that N.C. should join the majority of states and raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction.  The proposal to raise the age has already received tremendous support from juvenile justice stakeholders, members of law enforcement, the public, and bipartisan lawmakers.  In fact, in the public hearings held and comments received in August of this year, 96 percent of the comments supported raising the age.  Several groups, including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform,  the N.C. Sheriff’s Association, the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police and the N.C. Division of the Police Benevolent Association, have also issued statements in support of this proposal.

Given the high level of support both statewide and nationwide, the statistical data and scientific studies presented, and in consideration of the future of our youth, it stands to reason that raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction is a critical step forward for North Carolina.

For more information please find the original report here.

New Policy Recommendations by the National Juvenile Justice Network

From Sarah Breyer, Executive Director of the National Juvenile Justice Network:

August 3, 2016

New Policy Recommendations!

Every year, NJJN members draft and vote on policy platforms on key issues in youth justice. They’re meant to guide and influence the creation of policy and legislation.

This year, we produced a new policy platform on confidentiality (along with a related document with detailed recommendations to ensure youth records are kept confidential), and we revisited and updated our policy platform on sex offense registries and related laws. Click here to see them.

 

 

 

 

New Materials – Expunction Toolkit

Expunction Reminder Card3_front

Talking to clients about eligibility for expunction and exposure to collateral consequences can be challenging.  To assist defenders in having a conversation with youth about expunction, there is now an Expunction Toolkit located under Materials for Defenders on the OJD website.  The Toolkit includes the following materials:

  • Power point presentation (with voiceover) explaining the law and impact of expunction
  • Flow chart of expunction eligibility
  • Impact chart of certain adjudications on future criminal involvement
  • Collateral consequences chart and manual of juvenile adjudications in NC
  • Expunction reminder card, front and back

We hope to be periodically adding information to assist defenders.  As a reminder, expunction materials for youth can be be found here.  Thanks so much to Hannah Emory, Erica Navalance, Luke Wollard and Katie Tysinger for their help!