OJD Week in Review: Jan. 21 – 25

Hello again and welcome to another Friday!  This week we’ve got a new tip, a new training announcement, some news from around the juvenile defense community that may be of interest, and some deadline reminders.

We also released our 2018 Year in Review earlier this week.  Please take a moment to check it out here if you haven’t had a chance to read about some of our accomplishments from this past year and plans going forward into 2019.

Tip of the Week – 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.

From Around the Community

On teh Civil SideFrom the On the Civil Side blog, Jacqui Greene has posted a new piece titled “Mental Health Evaluations Required Prior to Delinquency Dispositions“.  In this blog post, Greene examines In re E.M., the recent case from the Court of Appeals which applies an old statute that requires district courts to refer juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent prior to disposition to the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services director for interdisciplinary evaluation if any evidence of mental illness is presented.  Greene explores how much evidence of mental health issues is needed, how to locate the local management entity who would need to provide the evaluation, what happens if a juvenile has already received a mental health evaluation, and the implications of the Court’s decision.  You can read the full post here.

On Feb. 11 at 12:30 p.m., Duke Law School Professor Brandon L. Garrett and the Duke Criminal Law Society will be presenting and releasing their newest study, “Juvenile Life Without Parole in North Carolina”.  Garrett was awarded a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to study evidence to inform criminal justice policy.  Through his research, Garrett prepared a report and will be sharing his findings with all attorneys working on juvenile cases at this event.  For further information, please direct questions to Callie Thomas.

Job Opportunities

The deadline for applications for the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS)‘ Regional Defender position is Sunday, Jan. 27.  The ideal candidate will have the ability to provide oversight to professionals, have knowledge of General Statutes, case law and responsibilities of contractors, and have skills in representing indigent defendants, problem solving, and relationship building.   IDS prefers applicants with some teaching/supervisory experience and a minimum of five years of experience with criminal defense work representing indigent clients.  You can apply and see more on this opportunity here.

On Dec. 1, Indigent Defense Services issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in Caswell, Person, Alamance, Orange, and Chatham counties.  The current contracts for adult noncapital criminal cases at the trial level and per session court cases in those districts will expire on May 31 and renew on June 1.  The RFP (RFP #16-0002R) seeks services for adult noncapital criminal cases at the trial level, juvenile delinquency, abuse/neglect/dependency and termination of parental rights, and treatment courts.  Please note that the RFP will not seek offers for potentially capital cases at the trial level, direct appeals or post-conviction cases.  Also, the juvenile delinquency RFP will only include Caswell, Alamance, and Person counties.  The deadline for electronic offers is Feb. 15.  To access the RFP, please check here.

Training

The Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a Juvenile Court Basics CLE on Feb. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse.  Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes will be discussing the role of counsel, how to communicate with juvenile clients, dispositions, capacity, appeals, and so much more.  Questions and concerns are welcome.  Three general CLE credit hours are currently pending for this training.   Please contact Marcus Thompson by email or call 919-890-1650 if you have questions.

Save the date!  The 2019 Regional Training for Indigent Defense: Special Issues in Complex Felony Cases will be held on March 21 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.  The training will focus on topics relevant to criminal law practitioners and is open to IDS contract attorneys and privately assigned counsel.  Participants will receive three general CLE credit hours.  Registration should open later this month.

training toy story

That wraps it up for now.  Check out OJD’s Twitter and Facebook for posts throughout the week and we will share more here on next Friday.

2018 Year in Review

This past year has been a very eventful and exciting year for the juvenile defense community.  With N.C. now less than a year from the full implementation of the Raise the Age (RTA) legislation, which will raise the age of juvenile delinquency court jurisdiction, OJD has been working throughout 2018 to prepare attorneys around the state for the anticipated changes.

RTA

Contracts & Trainings

Trainings:  OJD hosted multiple regional trainings around the state to discuss the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (also known as the RTA legislation) and the office’s plans to address it going forward.  OJD also hosted various juvenile court basics trainings in different regions at the request of local attorneys and bar associations and will continue to do so upon request.  OJD also presented to law students and collaborated with other organizations, such as the N.C. Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section, to train attorneys on RTA.

Contracts:  OJD established no new contracts this year, however there was a juvenile delinquency RFP issued and a few open contract positions filled through the year.  As part of the response to RTA, OJD will evaluate current contracts and observe court in all districts to determine where new contracts will be needed once the law is fully implemented.  Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes has also met with contractors in different districts to address issues and strategize on their cases.

Legislation

While there was no new legislation this year that OJD worked on, Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry continued to be active on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) and the Legal Revisions and Legislative Issues Subcommittee, assisting in the planning and adjustments before the full implementation of RTA.  We also provide the most current information we can for frontline defenders and stakeholders pertaining to the changes to the law.

Outreach

This year OJD has continued to grow in our online presence.  We’ve continued to trend Dilemma of Dutiesupward with the numbers on social media and we still encourage all attorneys doing juvenile defense work in N.C. to join our Facebook/Twitter page.  On the OJD website, new content is still being added to the blog, and new resources are still being provided to prepare attorneys on the RTA page under the “Information for Defenders” tab.  We’ve also had some great new interviews on the OJD podcast, including a feature on Dr. Anne Corbin’s book, Dilemma of Duties, which focuses exclusively on attorneys in the N.C. juvenile justice system, and a discussion on juvenile psychological development and evaluations with Dr. Cindy Cottle.

In 2018, the bulk of our outreach efforts have been dedicated to education and the celebration of the passage of RTA, and also establishing relationships with organizations that have interest in the new legislation.  OJD has also met with N.C. Central University’s staff to strategize on how to utilize the technology available through their Virtual Justice Project to assist in outreach for 2019.

Direct Representation

OJD continues to provide direct representation of juvenile clients.  This has allowed our Office to observe and respond to trends in juvenile court as well as continue to have a presence in the courtroom.  OJD has represented juveniles in cases transferred from other districts and been able to identify issues for appeal and base trainings on issues that have arisen in multiple cases in various districts such as proper amendments to charges on petitions and improper dispositional levels.  Collaboration with defenders in other jurisdictions when we have juvenile clients in common has resulted in better outcomes for juveniles with petitions in multiple districts.

New Initiatives

With the implementation of RTA underway, OJD has executed its three-part plan to address the needs of defenders to absorb the increased number of cases.  This includes (1) developing virtual and in-person statewide and local conferences, trainings and presentations to keep defenders informed, (2) proposing a system of dedicated defenders through contracting with local defenders and consulting with public defender offices and contractors to determine the impact of potential increase in caseload, and (3) continuing to work on policy development as it pertains to RTA implementation.  Our office continues to update the RTA page on the OJD website with resources specifically related to the legislation and our plans, including summaries and a compilation of articles, and we will continue to update this page as more materials become available.

OJJDP Grant

Early in 2018, with the anticipated increase in the juvenile caseload once 16- and 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system as a result of RTA, OJD and the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) applied for a federal grant offered through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).  The plan was to use the grant to help fund efforts to give attorneys access to more specialized training and resources and also increase our capacity for data collection over the next few years.  Fortunately, OJD was awarded the grant and has created the new Project Attorney position to assist in the planning and execution of virtual and in-person training statewide to better address juvenile defenders’ needs.  IDS has also created a new Juvenile Contract Specialist position to assist with the caseload increase.

OJD Week in Review: Jan. 15-19

Good afternoon N.C. Juvenile Defender Community.  It has been a rather eventful week, depending on where you are, and we hope everyone is still warm and safe.  This week we would like recap a few important things.

ICYMI

Earlier in the week, Assistant Appellate Defender David Andrews offered a great breakdown of the updated North Carolina Juvenile Defender manual, the first new edition since 2008.  The new manual offers defenders instruction based on changes to the Juvenile Code over the past decade, including sections on procedures for suppression motions and Raise the Age legislation, along with expanded sections on other topics covered in the original.  Andrews co-wrote the new manual along with John Rubin, Albert Coates Professor of Public Law and Government at the UNC School of Government.  Please take a moment to read David’s article here and access the new manual on the School of Government’s website.

RTA

Also, earlier in the week our office released our “2017 Year in Review”, highlighting some of the juvenile defense community’s biggest achievements in the past year, including the passage of Raise the Age and commemorating the 50th anniversary of In re Gault.  In our post we also provide our plan going forward to evaluate contracts and provide training in response to the increase in juvenile jurisdiction.  To read our brief on some of our successes and plans from 2017, please check out our article here.

Quick Reminders

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will be supporting National Drug and Alcohol Facts week, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  From Jan. 22-28, these organizations will be supporting community events nationwide and beyond that bring people together, from adolescents to experts, to discuss alcohol and drug abuse.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse will be providing free booklets about how to deal with drug abuse, in addition to other educational resources.

OJJDP will also be accepting nominations for their 2018 National Missing Children’s Day awards until Jan. 24.  They are seeking nominees for their Missing Children’s Citizen Award and Missing Children’s Child Protection Award.  These awards are meant to recognize private individuals who helped to recover a missing/abducted child and professionals, such as law enforcement officers and child protective service agents, who have worked to protect children from abuse and victimization.  For further details and to submit your nominations, please check here.

That will be all for now, but warmer weather, better days, and more news are ahead!  Don’t forget to check back early and often and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

 

2017 Year in Review

Another year gone, some great milestones achieved, and the Office of the Juvenile Defender (OJD) would like to highlight a few of those accomplishments from 2017:

Legislation

This was a monumental year for juvenile justice legislation as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of In re Gault and the passage of Raise the Age in N.C.

Raise the Age: In regards to raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction, OJD met with advocates and stakeholders to develop strategies for bill passage and worked with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Legal Counsel to draft, edit, and respond to amendments to the legislation.  OJD responded to legislators and staff with questions about the legislation and we have developed a three-part plan to address the needs of defender services to absorb the increased number of cases.

Gault:  The Supreme Court’s decision in Gault granted due process rights to children, which essentially created the occupation of juvenile defenders, and due to the new legislation passed in our state, North Carolina will not be the last state to automatically treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.  OJD collaborated with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and AOC to commemorate the fifty years since the Gault decision.

GAULTat50_TwitterTownHall_1

As part of our campaign to raise awareness about Gault, OJD worked with NJDC to create a webpage specifically for events in N.C. related to the celebration and to bring attention to N.C.’s commitment to fulfilling the promise of Gault.  On our own website and the UNC School of Government’s blog, in collaboration with LaToya Powell, OJD co-wrote a series of blogs on the legal impact of Gault on North Carolina law.  We also attempted to rally juvenile justice advocates to petition Google to create a Gault-inspired Doodle for May 15, the official anniversary of the decades-old decision, and encouraged other community leaders to solicit the media with op-eds and offer presentations of their own, such as the Council for Children’s Rights.  We also worked with the Governor’s Office to create a gubernatorial proclamation.  On the day of the anniversary, we launched our first Twitter Town Hall event with the hashtag #Gault50NC and we attended a gala in honor of the occasion hosted by NJDC in Washington, D.C.

With the assistance of AOC, we also created a video discussing the impact of Gault and the need for Raise the Age legislation in N.C.

Contracts & Trainings

Contracts:  There were no new contracts established in 2017, however with the passage of Raise the Age, OJD plans to evaluate current contracts and observe court in all districts to determine where new contracts will be needed once the law is fully implemented.  Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes has also met with contractors in different districts to address issues, brainstorm, etc.

Trainings: This year, OJD was proud to have held several successful trainings in various districts including Districts 7, 19, 8, and 1.  We had the pleasure of collaborating with the N.C. Advocates for Justice, UNC School of Government, and others once again to bring together new and veteran juvenile defenders in different lectures and interactive training activities across the state.

Direct Representation

OJD continues to provide direct representation of juvenile clients.  This has allowed our Office to observe and respond to trends in juvenile court as well as continue to have a presence in the courtroom.  OJD has represented juveniles in cases transferred from other districts and been able to identify issues for appeal and base trainings on issues that have arisen in multiple cases in various districts such as proper amendments to charges on petitions and improper dispositional levels.  Collaboration with defenders in other jurisdictions when we have juvenile clients in common has resulted in better outcomes for juveniles with petitions in multiple districts.

Outreach

This year we’ve tried to bring new life to the OJD website, encouraging more guest blogs, getting our own domain, and exploring new avenues to engage the juvenile defender community through social media.  Since last year, OJD has seen the subscriptions on our blog more than double from the 190 we initially had prior to Marcus Thompson coming on board in our new communications and office manager position.  We have also had significant growth in our audience on social media, which has been very useful in raising awareness of what our office and the North Carolina juvenile defense community aspires to do and has accomplished.  With assistance from the media team at AOC, OJD has developed a podcast, which we hope to continue to produce in order to keep all stakeholders informed.  An OJD Facebook page has also been created in order to keep stakeholders engaged and facilitate conversation about current events related to juvenile defense around the country.

New Initiatives

With the implementation of Raise the Age underway, OJD has developed a three-part plan to address the needs of defenders to absorb the increased number of cases.  This includes (1) developing statewide and local conferences, trainings, and presentations to keep defenders informed, (2) proposing a system of dedicated defenders through contracting with local defenders, and (3) consulting with public defender offices and contractors to determine the impact of potential increase in caseload.  Our office has also created a page on the OJD website with resources specifically related to Raise the Age, including summaries of the legislation and a compilation of articles, and we will update this page as more materials become available.  Additionally, OJD has been appointed to or assisted committees in response to the new legislation including the Governor’s Crime Commission, AOC JWise Attorney Access workgroup, and the new Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee created by the new law.

2016 Year in Review

Bringing a close to another eventful year, the Office of the Juvenile Defender would like to highlight some of our achievements throughout 2016:

Contracts & Trainings:

Contracts: There were no new contracts established in 2016, however we made several combined contract visits, incorporating contractors from adjacent districts and encouraging community building among defenders.  We continue to seek new ways to identify future contractors and contract districts.

Trainings:  OJD helped host the Southern Juvenile Defender Center’s Sixth Annual Summit in Charlotte in June, along with partners including the National Juvenile Defender Center, the Council for Children’s Rights, and the N.C. Advocates for Justice.  The day-and-a-half conference focused on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision J.D.B. v N.C., and featured participants and presenters from the seven-state region.

We were also proud to have collaborated with the Office of Indigent Defense Services and the UNC School of Government in this year’s Intensive Juvenile Defender training, Annual Juvenile Defender training, and two North Carolina Advocates for Justice Roundtable Discussions on Navigating Mental Health Issues in Juvenile Court.  We also provided local district trainings.

Image result for trainings

Legislation:

In addition to honoring the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Gault decision, which granted due process rights to children, we are also proud to have taken part in the push to “Raise the Age” in N.C.  This year with the growing support of the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice’s Raise the Age proposal, OJD attended all meetings, assisted with requests from the Commission staff and reported, and participated as a member of the Juvenile Age Subcommittee.

Image result for Raise the Age NC

 

Outreach:

As part of OJD’s ongoing effort to better communicate with juvenile defenders in the field, this year we introduced Marcus Thompson as our new communications and office manager.  With the creation of this new role and introduction of fresh eyes to the juvenile justice field, we intend to develop more consistent contact with defenders statewide and a stronger social media presence.  Going into 2017, a communications survey will also be distributed to help us coordinate better methods to maintain regular contact with partners and stakeholders going forward.

 

OJD has also made more effort to connect with defenders in the community by working with partners to provide local training opportunities and holding meetings with regional contractors to discuss strategies on improving practice.

OJD provided consultation with defenders across the state, providing trial assistance, as well as trial strategies and research assistance when requested.  For example, OJD attended a multiday trial, offering assistance with research and witness questions.  OJD has provided draft motions and briefs, advice regarding appeals, dispositional options, as well as case law research to defenders across the state.

This year, OJD also assisted in the rejuvenation of the NC Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section.  Led by Section Chair Valerie Pierce, the section has diversified membership and sponsored local trainings.

New Initiatives:

OJD provides direct representation of juvenile clients. This has allowed our Office to observe and respond to trends in juvenile court as well as continue to have a presence in the court room.  OJD has represented juveniles in cases transferred from other districts and been able to identify issues for appeal and base trainings on issues that have arisen in multiple cases in various districts such as proper amendments to charges on petitions and improper dispositional levels.   Collaboration with defenders in other jurisdictions when we have juvenile clients in common has resulted in better outcomes for juveniles with petitions in multiple districts.

OJD has partnered with a working group of attorneys from the Office of the Juvenile Defender, the Office of the Capital Defender, the Office of the Appellate Defender, and North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services to assist attorneys who represent juveniles charged with murder and other serious felonies. This group has developed a handout entitled, “Strategies for Litigating Miller Cases.” The handout provides advice for obtaining mitigating evidence, a description of the research that influenced Miller and Montgomery, a discussion of constitutional arguments against life without parole sentences, and much more. The handout also provides hyperlinks to sample motions and other resources that will aid attorneys as they defend their clients in these cases. We will consult with any attorney who would like additional information.