Week in Review: June 22-26

Another week down Readers! How are you feeling? Ready to get off, grab some ice cold lemonade and enjoy some front porch action? Us too, so let’s get down to business.

TIP OF THE WEEK!

District court is generally not a court of record, however juvenile delinquency court is a court of record.  That means that you are creating a record for use on appeal if that becomes necessary at the conclusion of your case.  In addition to making sure you preserve the record for appeal (more on that later), you may want to consider requesting an audio recording of a proceeding for other reasons.  For example, if you have a probable cause hearing, you may want to request the audio recording (and possibly have it transcribed) for use in the subsequent adjudicatory hearing.  The AOC form to request the audio recording of your hearing is AOC-G-115.

Webinars & Resources!

The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System is hosting a webinar, Policing & Racial Justice: Where Do We Go From Here?, June 29 at 12:00 PM.

Topics include: police brutality, qualified immunity, the “defund the police” debate, and racial justice in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. Presenters include: Frank Baumgartner, Kami Chavis, Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis and Greear Webb. See more information and register here.

As we close out our LGBTQ+ Pride Week, we wanted to share some important resources:

LGBTQ Cultural Competency Links –

Please read more about Pride Week and the historic Stonewall Riots written by Anthony Benedetti, Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston, MA.

Job Seeking Anyone?

  • NCPLS is searching for a new Executive Director. Applications will be accepted until June 30th. NCPLS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit law firm that provides people incarcerated by the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction with constitutionally required meaningful access to the courts. The Executive Director has primary responsibility for managing the organization’s day-to-day operations, directing the work of the staff, and serving as the primary spokesperson for the organization. Click here for description and application!
  • Strategies for Youth (SFY), a national nonprofit organization committed to improving police/youth interactions and reducing disproportionate minority contact, is seeking a new staff attorney. They are considering remote candidates. Please read more about this amazing opportunity here.

Alright Readers! That’s all for this week. We hope you have a great weekend and we will see you on our Twitter (@NCOJD) and Facebook (North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender) on Monday!!

Week in Review: June 15-19

Here’s to another Friday in the books! Couple announcements and a bit of history today, and of course your weekly tip. Thanks for all that you continue to do.

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!

Ahem! Announcements!

Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, also known as Freedom Day. June 19th  is recognized as the African American Emancipation Day after news delivered by Union soldiers in 1865, led by Major General Gordon Granger, announced in Galveston, Texas with news that the last of the enslaved were now free. This occurred TWO YEARS after President Lincoln’s Proclamation.

Today marks 155 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was revealed in Texas and many companies and brands have made this day a paid holiday, acknowledging the struggle and victories of the African-American culture. Other organizations will work to make today a day of learning, promoting knowledge and appreciation of African-American history and self-development. Happy Juneteenth.

NEXT WEEK

OJD will be celebrating and providing educational insight to the LGBTQ+ community as it is the last week of Pride Month. We will be sharing insightful tips on how to address, speak, and represent your LGBTQ+ clients in delinquency courts, as well as a little bit of history. Stay tuned!

And Finally…

CHEERS TO THE WEEKEND!

A Message From OJD

Since its inception, The Office of the Juvenile Defender (OJD) has worked as advocates to improve racial disparities, unfair treatment, and the injustice faced by Black and Brown children in the juvenile court system. We have understood that these children are born facing an insurmountable problem that they did not ask for which then spans their entire lives. To our juvenile defense lawyers who work tirelessly to represent the casts of black and brown children in a system that feels to be working against them, you are vital in this fight.

Over this past weekend, the hurt and pain of the Black community has been seen and felt across the nation. These raw emotions are fueled by the senseless and unnecessary murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, and Breonna Taylor alongside countless other lives lost to the systemic racism within the United States. This does not condone any violent acts in our communities, but rather seeing past what can be replaced to those who cannot.

OJD has a responsibility to stand for, support, and provide a hand in the fight against discrimination. To be a vocal part of the conversation. In the words of our Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, “The work of improving justice is never truly done. Justice is not an achievement, it is a practice.”

In times like these it is important to amplify our voice for change, take a stand for things that matter, and the lives of our Black and Brown communities do.

Thank You,

The Office of the Juvenile Defender

Week in Review: June 1-5

Hey Readers! There are just a few reminders this week, and new tip on discovery. As always, we thank you so much for the work you do defending children.

TIP OF THE WEEK

The Juvenile Code has similar discovery rules to those followed in adult criminal court except that in juvenile court you are entitled to discovery in both felony and misdemeanor cases.  N.C.G.S. §7B-2300 provides for mandatory discovery upon the filing of a motion for discovery. Some jurisdictions are refusing to provide discovery for cases involving 16-17 year old youth who have petitions filed alleging an A-G offense and are awaiting indictment (as a refresher, upon a finding of probable cause or indictment, a youth who is 16 or 17 years old and charged with an A-G felony must be transferred to Superior Court).

There is no caveat to the language in the statute “upon motion of a juvenile alleged to be delinquent, the court SHALL order the petitioner…”. The statute does not exclude 16/17 year old youth with petitions for A-G felonies awaiting indictment or a probable cause hearing. It is very important that you file your motion for discovery as early as possible in your case so that if the state is refusing to provide discovery, you can file a motion to compel. In your argument to the court to compel discovery, be sure to argue that the plain language of the statute applies and unless, and until, an indictment is returned (or probable cause is found), your client is still under the jurisdiction of juvenile court and the juvenile code applies.

CLE, Anyone?

Just a reminder, the 2020 SJDC Virtual Summit Presentation #2 is TODAY at 2:00 (ET) – 3:30 (ET).

Topic? Virtual Reality: Representing Juveniles in Remote Courtroom Panelists: Gar Blume, Tim Curry, Angela Vigil Register here: https://emory.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ddRytFWkSGajsMfBXDHj

The last SJDC Virtual Summit Presentation will be June 12, 2020 from 2:00-3:30 PM. Another 1.5 of CLE hours :D.

Topic? Where Do We Go From Here: Juvenile Defense Post COVID-19

Moderator: Rob Mason; Panelists: Amy Borror, Kristen Rome, Eric Zogry. Here is the registration link: https://emory.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lLBVyt80ROihqmb4id_EqQ

A Word Please,

OJD would also like to thank all of the defenders who make these webinars and CLE options possible. We know that they may not be the most enjoyable thing, sitting in front of the computer, but we are grateful that you attend and work hard to gain insight into juvenile defense. Keep a look out for more OJD CLE opportunities, have any course suggestions? Email LaTobia or Austine.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for checking in and we hope that your weekend is filled with grilled hot dogs and sunshine. See you next week!

Week in Review: May 25-29

We’re already back at the weekend AND greeting June on Sunday. Can you believe how time flies? Who would think when we’re all home, all the time. We hope your Memorial Day weekend was restful!

Tip of the Week – Building Trust

Especially during the era of Covid-19, innvesting 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!

IDS HAS A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR!

From NC AOC Communications:

The North Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense Services has appointed Mary Pollard as the new executive director of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS). Pollard’s legal career spans 27 years, most of which she spent working to protect the rights of indigent, incarcerated people. A Raleigh resident and mother of two, Pollard is a graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law.

You can read the Press Release about Mary and her appointment here.

Resources

  1. UNC School of Government released a new blog post via On the Civil Side: Juvenile Justice Pandemic Lessons written by Jacquelyn Greene. You can click here to read this great blog.
  2. The next 2020 SJDC Virtual Summit presentation is next Friday, June 5th. Topic? Virtual Reality: Representing Juveniles in Remote Courtrooms 2:00 (ET) – 3:30 (ET) Panelists: Gar Blume, Tim Curry, Angela Vigil. Registration Link:  https://emory.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ddRytFWkSGajsMfBXDHjWA

WE HAVE SOME INTRODUCTIONS COMING TO YOU NEXT WEEK. CAN YOU GUESS WHO THEY ARE?

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: May 4-8

Thanks for stopping by for another Week in Review! Plenty of meetings and calls this week as NC gears up to reopen our courts and we’re so ready to share new ways to pursue juvenile justice in this new time. Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions, we are more than willing to help.

Also! OJD is looking to develop and provide webinar training to our Juvenile Defenders throughout this pandemic. We are currently requesting topics and information you would like to have discussed. Please email Austine Long with your thoughts. Thank you.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Youth Development Center commitment

We are focusing our Tips of the Week on stages of juvenile proceedings that disproportionately impact youth of color. This week we are considering commitment to a youth development center (YDC):

  • Whenever disposition is being entered for your client, always argue for the lowest level of disposition.  A small number of points, or a violation of probation, can quickly send your client to YDC.
  • Consult with the court counselor and the ADA on their recommendations to the court.  If possible, negotiate a lesser disposition than YDC commitment before court.
  • Meet with your client before the dispositional hearing and provide the court with an alternative disposition plan that considers the safety of the community and your client’s needs.
  • Provide in court testimony from supportive community members.
  • Consider offering the court recent recidivism studies which indicate that commitment to YDC is factor for increased recidivism in juveniles. 

Resources

  • May 14, 2020 at 11 AM: NC CRED presents an interactive round-table webinar with leading experts in the North Carolina public health and criminal justice systems. The webinar will explore current conditions in North Carolina and discuss actionable steps to help mitigate the adverse effects on people in North Carolina who is a webinar about preparing and conducting video conference secure custody hearings. The speaker will discuss best practices, confidentiality and other important issues concerning video conferencing hearings.are involved with the criminal justice system. To register for this webinar, click HERE.
  • From the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the National Juvenile Justice Network member call, “COVID-19: The Heightened Dangers of Confinement” here are some resources they discussed.
  1. Distinction between medical isolation and solitary (AMEND at UCSF)
  2. A list of disability specific issues/resources (NDRN)
  3. Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings
  4. Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators
  5. National Commission on Correctional Healthcare
  6. National Partnership on Juvenile Service
  7. Stop Solitary for Kids
  8. Tolerance.org

Thanks for stopping by!

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!!

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.