OJD Week in Review: Oct. 15 – 19

Welcome to another Friday and another blog post!  This week there are some new job opportunities, a new resource and some training opportunities approaching quickly.

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Job Opportunities

The Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CFJJ) in Massachusetts will be accepting applications for a new executive director until Monday, Oct. 22.  The selected candidate will be responsible for fundraising, meeting with stakeholders, representing CFJJ to the public, managing overall operations and communicating with the Board.  For the full description please view here.

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is seeking an entry-level assistant appellate defender.  The ideal candidate will have the ability to analyze facts, accept advice and learn from assigned mentors, identify relevant law, apply facts and communicate complex legal concepts effectively, and treat clients with respect.  Applications for this position will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 4.  For the full job description and to apply, please visit here.

Training

On Oct. 30, from 2 – 5 p.m., OJD will be hosting a Juvenile Court Basics CLE at the Surry County Courthouse.  There are 3 CLE credit hours pending for this training.  There is no need to RSVP and all are welcome to attend.  Please contact our office if you have any questions.

On Nov. 16, the UNC School of Government will be hosting a Back to School CLE from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The training offers 6.25 hours of CLE credit, including an hour of ethics and an optional hour of substance abuse credit.  Topics will include civil and criminal case law and legislative updates, the opioid epidemic, and a review and preview of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Registration will be $300 and the deadline to register will be Oct. 31.  Lunch will be provided.  To register please visit the UNC SOG site here.

New Resources

PEW Charitable Trusts has recently released Juveniles in Custody for Noncriminal Acts, an interactive data visualization tool that shows a state-by-state breakdown of youth who are detained due to probation violations and status offenses.  This interactive tool uses data on the confinement of youth in each state by percentage, number, and rate per 100,000 youth.  You can access the tool here.

That covers everything for this week.  Be sure to check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for other content and N.C. juvenile defenders can contact us to be added to our listserv as well.  Have a great weekend!

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From NJDC: Probation Supervision Fees Trap Children and Families in Juvenile Court System

 

WASHINGTON, DC — Youth in 21 states can be charged fees for the cost of probation supervision, placing a tremendous burden on young people and their families, according to an issue brief and corresponding infographic released today by the National Juvenile Defender Center.

“These fees create a cycle of debt for families. Children are charged merely for being placed on probation, which exacerbates racial disparities and prolongs the length of time a young person is forced to stay in the system,” said Mary Ann Scali, executive director of the National Juvenile Defender Center.

The Cost of Juvenile Probation is based on interviews with juvenile defenders and probation officers in at least one jurisdiction in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Among the jurisdictions that reported charging fees, the costs vary from a flat fee of $10 to monthly fees that can add up to well above $2,000 — and that’s on top of numerous other fines and costs charged as a result of a delinquency case. If children or families do not have the means to pay the fees, the consequences can be devastating; among them, children are locked up, kept on probation indefinitely, or have civil judgments imposed on them and their families.

“When young people are charged supervision fees, families often must confront the impossible dilemma of covering the cost of their child’s freedom or affording household necessities, which only serves to perpetuate the criminalization of poverty,” said Scali. “In general, no formal process exists for a family to demonstrate they are unable to afford these fees and seek relief.”

The findings reveal an absence of uniform standards across or within states that determines how fees are assessed or whether they’re enforced, resulting in unequal access to justice. The issue brief urges state legislatures and juvenile courts to eliminate the use of supervision fees for juvenile probation. Recommendations also compel juvenile defenders to actively push for waiver of fees based on their incompatibility with the goal of youth success.

“Probation is the most common sentence young people receive in juvenile court, and yet by assessing supervision fees, courts distract from any genuine progress children make,” said Scali. “The fees also create unnecessary stress among family members, particularly when young people need the most support. It’s long past time to drop the use of supervision fees and focus on supporting children’s strengths.”

The National Juvenile Defender Center is dedicated to promoting justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. Through community building, training, and policy reform, we provide national leadership on juvenile defense issues with a focus on the deprivation of young people’s rights in the court system. For more information, please visit our website at www.njdc.info.

Case Summaries Update: In re D.E.P.

Please see the latest update to our “Case Summaries” list on the “Materials for Defenders” page.  The latest entry to the list, located in the”Dispositions: Appeals” and “Dispositions: Sentencing” sections, is the published opinion In re D.E.P. which established that:

The trial court is not required by G.S. 7B-2512 to make findings of fact that address each of the G.S. 7B-2501(c) factors and did not abuse its discretion in ordering a Level 3 commitment based on the juvenile’s repeated violations of probation.

Dec. 7th Defender Call: Just in Case You Missed It

 

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Just in case you missed it, during the last statewide juvenile defender call for 2016, Eric Zogry addressed recent updates with the Raise the Age bill, our new ideas for improving communications statewide, and alternatives to probation.

In regards to Raise the Age, the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice had their final meeting.  One of the key recommendations was to raise of the age of juvenile jurisdiction for 16 and 17 year olds, and Chief Justice Mark Martin stated that this initiative would be a priority for the 2017 legislative session.  The N.C. Sheriff’s Association, a former major opponent to the bill, is now in support of the RTA legislation after some changes were made in the proposal and some strong efforts to communicate the impact of the bill by commission and subcommittee members.

With the growing effort to improve communications with juvenile defenders, Marcus Thompson, the new communications and office manager, was brought on board to the OJD team.  Marcus introduced himself and briefly discussed building a regular presence for the office on Twitter, maintenance of the OJD website, and his plans to distribute a survey in January to gather more information about what juvenile defenders statewide think should be done about communications from our office.  He also extended an invitation for defenders to offer ideas about the blog.

Finally, Eric opened the discussion to gather defenders’ thoughts about alternatives to probation.  Suggestions about informal deferrals, moving to bring in mitigation experts, referring cases back to intake court counselors, and scrutiny of risk and needs assessment were all brought up.

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.

“Extending a Juvenile’s Probation Term: FAQ” by Professor LaToya Powell

From the “On the Civil Side Blog,” please read this informative blog by Professor LaToya Powell. Professor Powell discusses the basics of what needs to happen for the court to extend a juvenile’s probation.

I printed off a copy to keep in my bag I take to court because I know many judges will be more likely to consider your arguments if you back it up with a School of Government blog!

“Extending a Juvenile’s Probation Term: Frequently Asked Questions”