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: April 20-24

Hello from Friday with OJD. Another work from home week means that OJD is rounding up resources and information for you, anything we can do to help. It always goes without saying but thank you so much for your dedication to continuing the good (juvenile justice) fight, even from your homes.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Complaints Received

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

Attorneys are appointed to cases once a complaint is received by juvenile justice, then filed as a complaint.  So generally attorneys can’t impact whether or not a complaint is received.  But attorneys can prevent the case from going to adjudication by:

  • Asking for a dismissal for various reasons, such as the victim no longer wishes to prosecute or the juvenile has already made amends through a mediation program or restitution.
  • Continue the case for an opportunity for the juvenile to participate in a program such as suggested above, or Teen Court if your jurisdiction has one.
  • After an admission, ask the court to informally defer prosecution without an adjudication.

Resources

  1. IDS recently released information on how PAC can file fee apps for teleconferencing and interim fee apps. Please visit ncids.org for more information.
  2. Legal Aid-ACS has synthesized the federal and state guidance that has come out to date and offer concrete tips and resources for advocating for students during school closures. You can get more information here. There are five documents: 
  3. On Friday, May 1st from 11 AM to 12 PM, Legal Aid-ACS is also hosting a Coronavirus-and-Education Know Your Rights training via Zoom and Facebook Live.  The ZOOM link is at: https://zoom.us/j/91168580266. This session will include overviews of recent guidance, along with lots of practical tips for advocating for students. For those who can’t attend the live session, a video recording will also be available on Legal Aid of NC’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LegalAidNC ) for families and advocates to access whenever they are available.

THANKS FOR READING!!

AS ALWAYS, HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND AND BE SAFE!!

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!

Important North Carolina Defender Alert

Defenders,

We want to make you aware of operational changes instituted by state juvenile justice officials in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that may affect youth held in detention. You can find the official policy release here.

Of particular concern is the provision providing for “Placement of all juvenile detention center/crisis and assessment center admissions in medical room confinement for 14 days and until cleared by a medical provider to join the general population.” Our understanding after speaking with DJJ is that newly admitted youth are being segregated into pods and largely kept in their cells, according to protocols advised by the Center for Disease Control.

While DJJ is trying to engage these youth so they don’t feel isolated, the negative effect of solitary confinement on the mental health of youth is well documented. We also understand that if the youth leaves the facility and returns (including for secure custody hearings) the youth is placed back into medical room confinement for 14 days.

We want to encourage you to talk to your client if s/he is being held in detention to find out what is happening in that particular detention facility, and use not only DJJ’s policy of encouraging release by use of electronic monitoring or other community-based options (as outlined in the policy above), but also the information available in the links below to help inform the judge of the significant negative consequences of this type of confinement of youth and their mental health – especially youth with already existing mental health challenges. If your jurisdiction does not yet utilize audio/visual transmission for detention hearings, investigate this option as it will impact whether your client will have to re-enter medical room confinement.

Below are resources that you can consider using when arguing for your client to be released from detention:

  • Language from the Governor’s and NCDPS response to the Petition for Writ of Mamandus that was filed (the language pertaining to juveniles held in detention begins on page number 25 in the brief, but page 33 in the PDF).
  • ACLU briefing paper “No Child Left Alone” – Not related to Covid-19, but addresses the devastating effects of solitary confinement, regardless of what it’s called (i.e. isolation, medical confinement, etc.)
  • The Marshall Project article “What Happens When More Than 300,000 Prisoners are Locked Down?” – while not entirely juvenile focused, this also discusses the effects of isolation in confinement. “Solitary confinement can increase anxiety and disordered thinking, worsen mental health problems and heighten the risk of suicide.”

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help crafting a motion or argument – we’re here to help!

You can download and save a copy of this alert here.

Thank you for all that you do and are doing during this difficult and trying time.

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!

Juveniles & COVID-19

As you may know, 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, important to the safety and physical health of these youth, another issue has come from these sweeping changes: added mental health stress.

You can read this article from The Marshall Project. With the limits on visitation, youth are concerned for their loved ones, parents cannot see their child, and the implications of the restriction are taking an emotional toll on all.

For our NC Defenders who has juveniles in secure custody please read below:

We wanted to pass on some information regarding youth in detention. We have spoken with DJJ and here is what they have relayed:

  • all legal visits to the detention centers for juvenile will continue
  • attorneys are asked to call the detention center before they visit
  • attorneys may be screened for COVID-19 (asked a couple questions) to ensure the safety of the youth and staff
  • due to the closure of courts and continuances as a result to Chief Justice Beasley’s Executive Order, DJJ is working to have tele-hearing equipment available by early next week. That equipment is being delivered to the facilities and districts today and may also be available to parents and attorneys to visit electronically with their child/clients in detention in a secure and confidential manner. DJJ said they would let our office know when this option is available.

We understand that some of the detention centers may be filling up, with a reduction in alternatives due to the pandemic.  We encourage you to remind the court of low contact options, such as house arrest or electronic monitoring.  Check out our website for materials and information about Detention Advocacy here, or call our office and we will get back with you!

Week in Review: Feb 24-28

If I told you that OJD had the busiest week, would you believe us? From grant meetings to trainings, the work never stops when OJD is making juvenile justice a bit better in North Carolina.

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

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2408.5 governs suppression motions in juvenile court. Under the statute, the suppression motion must include an affidavit. In adult cases, the failure to include an affidavit waives the suppression issue, even on appeal. State v. Holloway, 311 N.C. 573 (1984).

Upcoming Trainings

Remember! OJD is reporting and covering CLE fees.

Juvenile Enhancement Training Recap

First, OJD would like to thank all of our guest speakers who presented at the Juvenile Enhancement Training: Dr. Julianne Ludlam, Dorothy Hairston-Mitchell, Kim Howes, Terri Johnson, Eric Zogry, L. Chantel Cherry-Lassiter & Mary Stansell. We appreciate your time and effort to make this CLE possible and a success. A big thank you to Austine Long for organizing and scheduling this event, and one to LaTobia for getting the materials printed and arranged so nicely.

Topics covered included: Raise the Age, Adolescent Behavior, Collateral Consequences, Interviewing and Expunctions. It was a long but educational day. Subscribe to our blog for more training announcements. Take a look at some photos below!

Next up, UNC SOG Intensive. See you next week!

Week in Review: Jan 13-17

Happiest of Friday’s to you OJD readers! This week was full of meetings and trainings… AND INTERVIEWS! We narrowed down the candidates for the Assistant Juvenile Defender position and began the second round of interviews this week. We’re so excited to have a new attorney with us in the office, this is going to be a hard choice!

APPEALS TIP OF THE WEEK: Courtesy of David Andrews, Office of the Appellate Defender

  • When you appeal, do these things:
    • Make sure the juvenile has the right to appeal. Generally, the juvenile can appeal from a dispositional order.
    • Give proper and timely notice of appeal.
    • Prepare an appellate entries with all of the hearing dates and have the judge sign it on the day you give notice of appeal.
    • Ask the judge to stay the dispositional order.
    • If the dispositional order is not stayed and the order requires the juvenile to be placed in custody, argue that compelling reasons do not exist to keep the juvenile in custody during the appeal.
    • Make sure the clerk sends the recordings to the court reporter and the court file to the appellate attorney in a timely manner.

Public Defenders! Wonder what the rate is for your current cases? Click here for the IDS Rate Information & Calculators.

Upcoming Trainings:

Juvenile Defender Enhancement Training February 26, 2020 – Sponsored by the Office of the Juvenile Defender, this training will provide vital Juvenile Defense topics such as: Transfer Hearings, Raise the Age Advocacy and Addressing Trauma in Adolescents. We have guest speakers and are covering the CLE cost & reporting 6 CLE training hours.

Intensive Juvenile Defender Training, March 4-5, 2020 – Brought to you by the UNC School of Government. 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. Click the link for more information!

JOB OPENINGS

Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL)

The Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL) in Durham, North Carolina has two openings for staff attorneys.

CDPL is a non-profit law firm and advocacy organization that works to provide the highest quality representation to people facing execution, and to end the death penalty in North Carolina.  CDPL is committed to diversity and racial equity and is an equal opportunity employer. 

For details about the positions and how to apply, please click here.

UNC School of Government

The UNC School of Government seeks a tenure-track assistant professor who will specialize in the field of criminal law. This position will be responsible for educating judicial officials on North Carolina criminal law. Click here for the announcement.

Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC)

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.

Wow! That was a LOT of information. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the office and we can help! 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.