Week in Review: May 3-7

Happy Friday Readers! We hope wherever you are is bright and sunny because Raleigh and rainy and gloomy but #JuvenileJustice never stops. As always, we’re bringing you a great tip and a couple resources, along with a #OJDFlashback.

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!

Resources!

State Bar Journal

Have you caught up on the latest version of the State Bar Journal? Well fear not! We have the link right here for you. There’s so many great reads inside, along with some tips as well!

NJDC – Ensuring Access

The National Juvenile Defender Center has a toolkit for defenders who are looking for ways to find or create support in the law for juveniles. It works to ensure access to counsel and ways to address policy makers backed with research for the improvement of juvenile justice in your state. Want to read more, click here.

#OJDFLASHBACKFRIDAY

April 26, 2019, (OJD) partnered with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) to teach 10 of our juvenile defense attorneys NJDC’s Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) and through the three-day training program, NJDC provided 3 trainers who worked to train the defenders in different activities and topics. This training created superstar trainers out of our defenders and they have since gone on to present for OJD as well as the School of Government. If you look closely, you’ll see two of our OJD staff!

Week in Review: April 19-23

Happy Friday Readers! Another beautiful Friday in the books but it’s a bit cold in Raleigh. Where did spring go so fast? Well, at least there’s things like tea to keep us warm while we wrap up the week for you.

First! A Tip!

Immigration Consultations 

Did you know that IDS has made immigration consultants available to all defenders who have been appointed indigent clients? That means all of your juvenile clients! This may be especially helpful to determine if your client may be eligible for some type of immigration relief since s/he is a juvenile. Simply go to the IDS website to access the form here. You may want to print out the printable version and put it in your case file to fill out when you meet your client and then upload the information when you get back to the office. OJD also held a CLE on this topic and can share this with verified Defense counsel.

Resources & Community Events

The NACDL had an overwhelming turn out to their Race + Criminal Justice Webinar so they have decided to offer Part 2! They will take a deep dive into how past criminal convictions can impact an individual’s ability to participate in certain industries, e.g. the legal profession, the cannabis industry, and other entrepreneurial opportunities. To register for this webinar, please click here. (This is NOT a CLE).

SOG + IDS 2021 Spring Public Defender Conference

The 2021 Virtual Spring Public Defender Attorney & Investigator Conference is  open and available at https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/spring-public-defender-attorney-and-investigator-conference offered remotely May 12-14, 2021 on the Zoom meeting platform. This conference is cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services and offers 13 hours of attorney CLE credit and qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit. This conference will also offer at least one hour of ethics, mental health/ substance abuse, and technology credit. The SOG has submitted a total of 7 credit hours to the North Carolina Protective Services Board for approval of the investigator sessions and they will have their own training tracks Wednesday & Friday.

Schedule:

Day 1 Wednesday, May 12, from 9:50am to 4:30pm. Attorney and Investigator Tracks

Day 2 Thursday, May 13, from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Misdemeanor, Felony, and Juvenile Tracks

Day 3 Friday, May 14, from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Attorney and Investigator Tracks

Participants: The Virtual Spring Public Defender Attorney & Investigator Conference is open to IDS employees, private assigned counsel, and contract attorneys who are handling indigent criminal and delinquency cases in the North Carolina state courts. Fee: The registration fee for IDS employees—public defenders, appellate defenders, capital defenders, special counsel, and IDS legal staff—is $0.

CLE Credit:The 2021 Virtual Spring Public Defender Attorney & Investigator Conference offers 13 hours of continuing legal education credit, which we will report to the State Bar on your behalf. A link to the recordings will be emailed to all participants once available, and participants will have 2 weeks to view them for CLE credit. If you are unable to view the entire program, either live or via recording, you will need to complete a partial credit form. If you do not submit a partial CLE form, we will report the full 13 hours on your behalf. While you may re-watch all the sessions for content purposes, we will only report a max of 13 hours to the State Bar.

Again, you can get more information and register by clicking here: https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/spring-public-defender-attorney-and-investigator-conference

Reminder: PAC Fee App & New Juvenile Rates

The Office of the Juvenile Defender has been notified of an increasing number of errors on fee applications for delinquency matters.  In order that all fee applications can be processed, and payments issued in a timely manner, please read the following MEMO & view the Juvenile Rates Chart.

Week in Review: Apr 12-16

Welcome to the Weekend Readers! This week OJD was busy with meetings and discussions while also planning some new material to share with you all. We’d love to hear some of your thoughts, needs and wants to better assist you in your day to day work in Juvenile Justice. No idea is a bad one and you can contact anyone in the office!

TIP OF THE WEEK

When Should I Receive the Disposition Report? 

You should try to receive the disposition report prior to the dispositional hearing to review with your client.  If possible, try to get a copy of the report at least several days prior to the hearing.  While there is no statutory authority compelling the receipt from the intake counselor, there are local rules which suggest time periods.

Congratulations OJD!

With the completion of our OJJDP Grant that wrapped up March 31, 2021, OJD was able to produce multiple CLE trainings for our Defenders (while covering attendance costs), have a brand new website (coming soon), and created SEVEN Quick Guides for readily accessible facts & tips while in court (which were either hand delivered or mailed throughout the year). All of this would not have been possible without our AWESOME Project Attorney Austine Long. Austine has worked extremely hard to reshape how our grant would succeed during the unexpected change of pace when the office and our plans to travel, shut down due to Covid. She revamped our CLE curriculum and never stopped making sure we hit the mark. So thank you Austine, for everything you did and do for OJD!

Raise the MINIMUM Age

On March 25, 2021, the N.C. Senate passed a bill to raise the minimum age a youth can be petitioned for a crime. The age increase would move from the lowest in the United States at 6 years of age, to 10. One of the main highlights of Senate Bill 207 is that it sets up a child consultation process which would enforce that these youth that are referred to the justice system and are under 10 will need to meet with a court counselor to assess the appropriate resources that can assist with keeping the youth out of the court process. This aim is to ensure that the mental capacity of youth and the desire to keep children out of the system and help discover latent issues. Now that the Senate has passed the legislation, it is on it’s way to the House for further consideration before going to the Governor’s hands. If the bill is passed, it will go into effect on Dec. 1. What are your thoughts on this newly introduced / pending Bill?

JLWOP

Josh Rovner has written a great piece via the Sentencing Project regarding Juvenile LWOP. This brief report is filled with statistics, landmark cases and thoughts surrounding the end of JLWOP in the United States. To read this brief and learn more about the JLWOP reform requests, please click here.

Week in Review: Apr 5-9

Happy Friday Readers! First week of April down and it’s getting warmer outside. Not to mention, time for pollen. We hope you’re stocked up on allergy cures for Spring. Well, it’s time for another Week in Review, let’s get started!

Tip of the Week

Prior Record Level Matters

If your client’s prior record places him/her in a position for the judge to enter a level 1 OR 2 dispositional level, ALWAYS argue for a level 1 disposition. You can find a copy of the disposition chart here. Make sure to check the final written order for accuracy.

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and as juvenile defenders, it is important to note, understand and work with others to provide safety to the most vulnerable. For more information on training, initiatives, partnerships and tools, please visit OJJDP’s dedicated page to this cause.

Webinar!

In honor of Second Chance Month this April, NACDL will host “Race + Criminal Legal System: Collateral Consequences,” a program aimed at unpacking the racially disparate and often-permanent consequences associated with criminal convictions. Tune in Tuesday, April 13th, at 4pm ET (1pm PT) with moderator, Cynthia Roseberry, Deputy Director for the National Policy Advocacy Department for the ACLU, and panelists Rob DeLeon, Vice President of Programs for The Fortune Society, David Singleton, Executive Director for the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, and Quintin WilliamsPanelists will discuss the long-term impacts of criminal convictions, the specific harm that collateral consequences have caused to communities of color, and what it will take to meaningfully change this system. There will be time for audience questions at the end of the program.

North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board

Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper announced the formation of the North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board (“Review Board”). It is a four-person advisory board, established by Executive Order 208, that will review some sentences imposed in NC on youth who were tried and sentenced in adult criminal court for acts committed before turning 18. The Review Board will make recommendations to the Governor concerning clemency and commutation of such sentences when appropriate. This is big news for youth offenders who are now adults and a start to changing the course of juvenile justice in NC. To read more about this announcement click here.

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!

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

Week in Review: March 22-26

Another Friday in the books and the last one of March! So let’s jump into our Week in Review.

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.

Thank you to David Andrews!

OJD would like to thank David Andrews for his presentation Wednesday afternoon on Challenging North Carolina’s Automatic Transfer Laws. The information he shared was not only helpful to our defenders, but sparked questions but also how to overcome challenges our defenders see daily. This was a highly participated CLE and we also can’t thank the attendees enough for making this a great training!

Something exciting is coming!

Not only is NCJUVENILEDEFENDER.COM getting a facelift, we’re also bringing you some new content. We’re now in the process of recording a few videos, containing information on juvenile issues, specialization, and all kinds of helpful nuggets that we know our defenders would like. Interested in filming one? Contact LaTobia.

With the new website, you will have to re-subscribe to our blog (and something special) so stay tuned for more information and our launch! Thanks for all that you do and helping us make this possible!

Community Events

On April 1 at 1:00pm ET, NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Center is presenting a free, CLE webinar titled, “Racist by Design: How Systemic Racism and Inherent Biases Manifest in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Beyond”. This program will feature Rashida Richardson, Visiting Scholar at Rutgers Law School and Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law, Cathy O’Neil, author, mathematician, and founder of ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company, and Cierra Robson, a doctoral student in the Sociology and Social Policy program at Harvard University and the Inaugural Associate Director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab at Princeton University. To register for this CLE and receive credit, please click here.

In honor of Second Chance Month this April, NACDL will host “Race + Criminal Legal System: Collateral Consequences,” a program aimed at unpacking the racially disparate and often-permanent consequences associated with criminal convictions. Tune in Tuesday, April 13th, at 4pm ET (1pm PT) with moderator, Cynthia Roseberry, Deputy Director for the National Policy Advocacy Department for the ACLU, and panelists Rob DeLeon, Vice President of Programs for The Fortune Society, David Singleton, Executive Director for the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, and Quintin Williams. Panelists will discuss the long-term impacts of criminal convictions, the specific harm that collateral consequences have caused to communities of color, and what it will take to meaningfully change this system. There will be time for audience questions at the end of the program.

Week in Review: March 15-19

Happy Friday Readers! Short and sweet Week in Review for you today. We’re at the middle of the month and who doesn’t love getting to the weekend faster?

Tip of the Week

Transcript of Admission

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.

PAC Fee App & New Juvenile Rates

The Office of the Juvenile Defender has been notified of an increasing number of errors on fee applications for delinquency matters.  In order that all fee applications can be processed, and payments issued in a timely manner, please read the following MEMO & view the Juvenile Rates Chart.

March CLE!

Have you registered for our Challenging North Carolina’s Automatic Transfer Laws, presented by David Andrews? Join us March 24, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 PM. This CLE will be 1 hour long, with CLE currently pending. Please remember this CLE is DEFENDER ONLY.

This presentation will provide juvenile defense attorneys with an understanding of North Carolina statutory provisions for the automatic transfer of children from juvenile court to adult criminal court.  The presentation will also discuss strategies and arguments that juvenile defense attorneys can use to challenge automatic transfer laws, including provisions in the United States and North Carolina constitutions covering due process, cruel and unusual punishment, equal protection, and the right to counsel.

To register, please click here.

From a Lawyer’s View: Youthful Offenders – What to Do When Clients Want to Be Transferred

Who are youthful offenders?

In the jurisdiction where I practice, we refer to 16-17 year-old clients who are subject to potential mandatory transfer to superior court as youthful offenders. This age group has its own special needs and challenges. One challenge is when your client either refuses an offer that will allow him/her to stay in juvenile court and/or requests transfer to superior court.

We know from science that adolescent brains are not fully developed until approximately between the ages of 21-25. We know that these differences in brain development have practical implications which impact their ability to plan ahead and think in hypothetical terms. We also know that they exhibit a greater degree of risk taking and more easily succumb to peer pressure. All of these factors (and more) influence their ability to make decisions and affect a teen’s ability to exhibit self-control. Additionally, they tend to be less sensitive to negative consequences. All of these factors (and more) played a role in North Carolina finally implementing the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (also known as Raise the Age) to include youth under 18 under juvenile court jurisdiction for many offenses.

N.C.G.S. §7B-2200.5 requires a youth who is charged with an A-G felony offense to be transferred to superior court for trial as an adult after a finding of probable cause or indictment. So how does this impact your representation of a 16 or 17 year old client who tells you s/he wants to be transferred to superior court or refuses to admit to an offer that will allow him/her to remain in juvenile court?

What Is Our Role?

The first, and most important, thing to remember is that as defenders our role is NOT to advocate for the best interest of our client. We are express interest advocates and represent our juvenile clients with the same zealous advocacy that we do for our adult clients – even if we disagree with the decision s/he is making once we’ve counseled him/her regarding the benefits and risks of any decision. This means we must give our clients all the information they need, in language they can understand (i.e. age appropriate) to allow them to make their own decision. There is nothing wrong with challenging their thought process or asking someone they respect to have a conversation with them about the risk of transfer.

Assuming you have exhausted all your options in advising your client, and despite all your good legal advice your client insists on moving forward, what do you do? I would suggest the following:

  1. Get a second opinion – talk to a local attorney who you trust or contact our office to get advice on other ways to advise your client.
  2. Review with your client the possible collateral consequences of a transfer to superior court. OJD has a form that lists possible risks/consequences of transfer that requires your client to acknowledge that s/he has been informed and is choosing to transfer against advice of counsel. You can access the form here.
  3. Put it on the record. Make the court aware of your client’s decision, but do it in a professional manner that doesn’t negatively impact the court’s view of your client.

Lastly,

4. Respect your client’s decision. You may disagree, but it’s important to respect your client’s agency in making a decision that s/he will have to live with.

Written by Kim Howes, Assistant Juvenile Defender for The Office of the Juvenile Defender. Kim Howes has extensive juvenile court knowledge and directly represents juveniles for OJD while also supporting the middle districts of North Carolina, including Wake & Durham counties.

Week in Review: March 1-5

Happy March Readers! Can you believe we are 3 months into 2021 already? How is time flying so fast!? Well with each new month comes new opportunities and OJD is always here to help however we can. Let’s get you to your weekend with your Week in Review, Tip & some recaps!

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).

Did you catch our SURPRISE SATURDAY Post?

With the conclusion of #BlackHistoryMonth we had ONE MORE Juvenile Defender to highlight and that was Alexis Perkins! She’s a superior attorney and has been defending children since she got her start in law. Not only does she have the experience, she has the talent! To read more about Alexis and what #BlackHistoryMonth means to her, click here.

Help NJDC Improve Their Defender App!

From NJDC, “NJDC’s goal in creating Defender App was to provide a convenient way for defenders to access NJDC’s resources quickly, in on-your-feet, in-the-moment situations, such as in the courtroom, when you have to quickly object or make an oral motion.”

They are currently the beginning stages of a website redesign (JUST LIKE OJD) and want to make resources more accessible, and are also considering a Defender App 2.0. NJDC would greatly appreciate your feedback about how or whether you have used Defender App already, and what features you would find most useful in a future version.

This survey will be open until Friday, March 12. Please take a moment to complete this survey and help NJDC keep Defenders up to date.

For Our Students & Future Attorneys

Your internship inquiries have been received and OJD is very close to finalizing what our Summer Internship might look like (in the hopes we can provide one due to our current pandemic). We will be announcing more information hopefully by the end of next week. Thank you so much for your interest in interning at OJD and your desire to also #DefendChildren!

Have a GREAT & SAFE 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!