Week in Review: May 11-15

Another week down, many more more to go. Thank you for coming back to read another week in review with OJD. There’s a few webinars we want to tell you about and as always, a Tip of the Week. Short and sweet so you can go grill some hot dogs in this nice weather (save a burnt one for LaTobia) 😀

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 are in order to LaToya Powell who was named this years CHILDREN’S CHAMPION by the NC Bar Association’s Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section at their annual meeting yesterday!!!!!!!! Congratulations LaToya and thank you for all your hard work defending and protecting children!!

  • Our first DEFENDER ONLY Online CLE Webinar: Video Conference Secure Custody Hearings, is next Friday, May 22 at 11:00 AM. It is a FREE CLE to the first 75 DEFENDERS. To register for this training, click HERE. Place your Job Title & Bar Number in: Job Title to ensure proper CLE credit.  Also include your organization in the Company field.
  • May 15 at 1:00 pm, Dr. Maureen Reardon of @NC_IDS and the Guilford County Public Defender’s Office is hosting a 1 Hour Online CLE on Working with Mental Health Experts: Psychological Testing in Criminal Cases. Register here for this great webinar!
  • May 18, 2020 at 12:00 PM join Strategies for Helping Youth Cope During Uncertain Times Webinar with Ruby Brown-Herring, from the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. You can register here for this webinar.
  • OJJDP is hosting a webinar May 21, 1:00 to 2:15 PM, on Mentoring and Supporting Young People’s Mental Health and Well-being. It will focused on strategies and resources to support mental health for juveniles. Register here.

That sums up this week, have a great (and safe!) weekend! – OJD

Week in Review: Apr 27 – May 1

Welcome to May Readers! April went by a whole lot faster than March and we’re glad everyone is still safe and joining us for another OJD Week in Review.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Secure Custody

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

  • If possible, find out if your client is being detained before the initial secure custody hearing.  It’s critical to start the attorney-client relationship early and inform your client of their rights as well as what to expect at the hearing.
  • If you meet your client for the first time at the initial secure custody hearing, take a few minutes to introduce yourself, describe your role, and answer any questions about the hearing.
  • Come up with a plan for release:  reasonable conditions on your client, alternative placements, or other information that will help the court support a decision for release.
  • If your client is shackled, argue for the removal prior to court starting.  Shackling has an intense, lasting impact on your client and removal can be a good first step to developing confidence with your client. 
  • If your client is not released, make a plan to contact or visit them in detention to discuss next steps.  Make sure the parent/guardian has the contact information for the detention center as well to facilitate calls or visits.
  • If your client is released, make an appointment to meet before the next court date.  Review any conditions of release and encourage your client to contact you with any questions.

JOB OPPORTUNITY

IDS is seeking applicants for the Contracts Administrator and the position has been posted here:

https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/northcarolina/jobs/2768601/contracts-administrator

The position closes May 7 at 5pm. This is a great way to contribute to indigent defense in North Carolina for a detailed and energetic individual.

RESOURCES

  1. Resources from Racial Justice for Youth: A Toolkit for Defenders can help you advocate for your many detained clients who are youth of color:

Sign up to access the Toolkit’s defender-only resources.

2. SAVE THE DATE: THURSDAY, MAY 14 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

COVID-19: Implications of the Pandemic within the Criminal Justice System

NC CRED presents an interactive round-table webinar with leading experts in the North Carolina public health and criminal justice systems.

3. Rewatch Strategies for Youth Webinar: Improving Law Enforcement/Youth Interactions in Times of Crisis

HOPE THE START OF YOUR MONTH AND WEEKEND ARE GREAT!

THANKS FOR READING! JOIN US NEXT FRIDAY!

Week in Review: Apr 13-17

Happy Friday Readers! It’s been another hard (at home) working week for OJD, but with a constant focus on providing the most beneficial and practical information during this time. This week we don’t have a tip for you, rather an important message regarding racial justice for juveniles of color and secure custody. With COVID-19 affecting our detention centers and YDCs, it’s vital to remember that fair treatment includes every juvenile. Read below for viable resources to combat that.

In June 2019 a new study on North Carolina disproportionate minority contact was published.   Using data from DJJ, the study showed that the race of a juvenile contributes to disproportionate negative outcomes, especially for black youth.  Specifically, black youth were more likely to have complaints filed against them, be placed in secure custody, or committed to a youth development center (YDC).  In an attempt to better serve youth color in the system, here are several resources on representing youth of color:

Other Resources from the National Juvenile Defender Center

In addition, the next three tips of the week will focus on the stages of complaints filed, secure custody, and youth development center commitment.

You can also download this post here for your keeping.

North Carolina Defenders

Yesterday we released an important notice regarding operational changes to instituted by state juvenile justice officials in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that may affect youth held in detention. Please continue to refer to that release for resources on how best to serve your clients in secure custody and for the encouragement of alternative options.

THANKS FOR READING AND STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK!

BE SAFE AND STAY HEALTHY!

NC IDS IS SEEKING THE NEXT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR!

The IDS Commission is seeking the next Executive Director for IDS and the position has been posted here:  https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/northcarolina/jobs/2686309/executive-director-indigent-defense-services

The position closes February 18, 2020, and the Commission expects to conduct interviews March 26 or 27. 

This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a vision for public defense in North Carolina and an interest in working with great people to turn that vision into reality. 

If you want to learn more about North Carolina’s Indigent Defense Services and how you can be of great help to our community, visit the IDS Website.

Week in Review: Nov 11-15

What a cold week we had here in North Carolina. Where did Fall go?

We are 17 days away from the implementation of Raise the Age! The countdown from 100 years has been LONG! 😀

Legislative Updates!

There were a few updates for 2019 juvenile justice legislation. Read about them here.

RAISE THE AGE TIP!

How Will Probable Cause Be Different for 16 and 17 Year Olds?

Currently for 13, 14 and 15 year olds, if the court finds probable cause, the court must also have a transfer hearing before determining whether a juvenile should be transferred (except for First Degree Murder, which must be transferred if probable cause is found).  The probable cause hearing must be held within 15 days of first appearance but may be continued for good cause.

For 16 and 17 year olds charged with a Class A through G offense, if the court finds probable cause, the court must transfer the case to superior court.  Another important difference is that the probable cause hearing must be held within 90 days of first appearance but may be continued for good cause.

For 16 and 17 year olds charged with a Class H or I offense, the court must have both a probable cause hearing and a transfer hearing before transferring the juvenile to superior court.

TRAINING!

We have a RADIO GUEST STAR IN THE OFFICE!!

Austine was invited to interview at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law podcast, The Legal Eagle alongside Dorothy Hairston Mitchell. Dorothy is the Clinical Assistant Professor and Supervising Attorney at the Juvenile Law Clinic at NCCU. They spoke about juvenile justice and Raise the Age, both very important issues.

Want to check out that interview, visit Legal Eagle Sunday at 7 PM.

LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST!

Join us on Twitter & Facebook for a Town Hall regarding Raise The Age. Want us to answer a specific question or simply join in on the conversation? Use the hashtag #RaiseTheAgeNC !

Guest Blogger: David Andrews, Office of the Appellate Defender

Any Given Sunday  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t watch a lot of football.  The games are long and there’s that persistent risk of concussion.  But a phrase you sometimes hear with football – “any given Sunday” – has a ring to it.  During any particular game, the underdog could surprise everyone and upset a higher-ranked team.  So it is with the law.  The Supreme Court of North Carolina issues opinions once or month or once every two months, but always on a Friday.  And, so, on any given Friday, a defendant or a juvenile could surprise everyone and come out on top.  The Court of Appeals issues opinions on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.  So, you know, “any given Tuesday.”  But how do you get to a point where an upset is possible?  One way is through motions.  Over the past several months, my colleagues and I at the Office of the Appellate Defender (“OAD”) have been working with attorneys at the Office of the Juvenile Defender (“OJD”), the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, and Prisoner Legal Services on sample motions for various issues.  You can find these motions on the OAD and OJD websites.  The motions are designed in part to preserve legal arguments and, thus, to achieve that unexpected win on appeal.  However, they also serve to educate judges and lawyers about specific legal issues.  And who knows? One or more of the motions might win in trial court.  One set of motions involves the new offenses of making a false report of mass violence on educational property and communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property.  The motions involve various free speech arguments.  From the outside, free speech arguments can seem complicated.  But have no fear – these motions provide case law and a roadmap for asserting free speech claims.  Another motion lays out an argument that the State should be required to give notice if it intends to seek a higher disposition on the ground that the juvenile committed the offense while on probation and then prove that the juvenile was on probation beyond a reasonable doubt.  Juveniles are entitled to the same notice as adults.  In addition, the State is required to prove every fact necessary to constitute the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), sentencing enhancements in criminal cases are treated as elements that the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  The same logic should arguably apply to delinquency cases.  Finally, there is a batch a motions that all involve extending Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) to some of its logical conclusions.  For example, there is a motion arguing that the mandatory transfer of first-degree murder cases to adult court is unconstitutional. If judges are required to take youth into account before imposing an LWOP sentence, they should be required to do so before transferring the case to adult court.  Another motion argues that the threshold for imposing the death penalty and mandatory LWOP sentences should be extended from 18- to 25-years old.  Miller was premised on research into adolescent brain development.  And, so, if that same research indicates that the adolescent brain does not finish maturing until the mid-20s, then the law should reflect that research, as well.  Finally, there’s a motion arguing that felony murder should not apply to juveniles.  In North Carolina, felony murder is based on deterrence.  However, Miller explains that deterrence doesn’t work with kids because kids tend act impulsively without considering the consequences of their conduct.  All of these arguments are just that – arguments.  Some may win, some will lose.  But we won’t know unless we try.  On any given day in court, anything is possible. Profile Picture - Small
David Andrews

Any Given Sunday

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t watch a lot of football.  The games are long and there’s that persistent risk of concussion.  But a phrase you sometimes hear with football – “any given Sunday” – has a ring to it.  During any particular game, the underdog could surprise everyone and upset a higher-ranked team.

So it is with the law.  The Supreme Court of North Carolina issues opinions once or month or once every two months, but always on a Friday.  And, so, on any given Friday, a defendant or a juvenile could surprise everyone and come out on top.  The Court of Appeals issues opinions on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.  So, you know, “any given Tuesday.”

But how do you get to a point where an upset is possible?  One way is through motions.  Over the past several months, my colleagues and I at the Office of the Appellate Defender (“OAD”) have been working with attorneys at the Office of the Juvenile Defender (“OJD”), the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, and Prisoner Legal Services on sample motions for various issues.  You can find these motions on the OAD and OJD websites.  The motions are designed in part to preserve legal arguments and, thus, to achieve that unexpected win on appeal.  However, they also serve to educate judges and lawyers about specific legal issues.  And who knows? One or more of the motions might win in trial court.

One set of motions involves the new offenses of making a false report of mass violence on educational property and communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property.  The motions involve various free speech arguments.  From the outside, free speech arguments can seem complicated.  But have no fear – these motions provide case law and a roadmap for asserting free speech claims.

Another motion lays out an argument that the State should be required to give notice if it intends to seek a higher disposition on the ground that the juvenile committed the offense while on probation and then prove that the juvenile was on probation beyond a reasonable doubt.  Juveniles are entitled to the same notice as adults.  In addition, the State is required to prove every fact necessary to constitute the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), sentencing enhancements in criminal cases are treated as elements that the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  The same logic should arguably apply to delinquency cases.

Finally, there is a batch a motions that all involve extending Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) to some of its logical conclusions.  For example, there is a motion arguing that the mandatory transfer of first-degree murder cases to adult court is unconstitutional. If judges are required to take youth into account before imposing an LWOP sentence, they should be required to do so before transferring the case to adult court.  Another motion argues that the threshold for imposing the death penalty and mandatory LWOP sentences should be extended from 18- to 25-years old.  Miller was premised on research into adolescent brain development.  And, so, if that same research indicates that the adolescent brain does not finish maturing until the mid-20s, then the law should reflect that research, as well.  Finally, there’s a motion arguing that felony murder should not apply to juveniles.  In North Carolina, felony murder is based on deterrence.  However, Miller explains that deterrence doesn’t work with kids because kids tend act impulsively without considering the consequences of their conduct.

All of these arguments are just that – arguments.  Some may win, some will lose.  But we won’t know unless we try.  On any given day in court, anything is possible.