OJD Week in Review: Nov. 12 – 16

Hello all!  This week (and the next, of course) is a short one and there is no fresh news to share, but please review the info below for upcoming deadlines on jobs and training opportunities if you’re still interested!

Job Opportunities

The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts public defender agency, is currently seeking a director for its newly created Strategic Litigation Unit.  The Strategic Litigation Unit will be responsible for litigation aimed at achieving systemic and institutional reform in all of CPCS’s criminal and civil practice areas.  The Strategic Litigation Director will lead those efforts and will work with other attorneys, advocacy organizations, and clients to promote justice for and protect the rights of individuals who are parties in criminal and civil right-to-counsel proceedings.  The director’s responsibilities will include criminal and civil litigation and administrative advocacy.  Litigation will include both trial and appellate advocacy in state and federal court.  Depending upon the matter at issue, the director may serve as lead counsel, co-counsel, consultant, amicus curiae, or provide technical support.  The position will be posted until filled; preference will be given to candidates who apply prior to November 26, 2018.  To find further information and to apply, please visit here.

Bay Area Legal Aid is currently seeking a Youth Justice Staff Attorney who will provide civil legal services designed to meet the individualized needs of delinquency-involved youth, with a particular focus on SSI cases for children with disabilities.  This position is based out of Alameda County, CA.  But the position may include travel throughout the Bay Area.  The Youth Justice Attorney’s responsibilities include client interviews, negotiations with governmental agencies/opposing parties, research and writing, and representation at administrative and court proceedings.  The attorney is also expected to engage in outreach with probation, social services, law enforcement, youth service providers, and other community organizations.  Beyond SSI cases, the position may also include a smaller, mixed caseload in areas such as special education, health access, public benefits (e.g. foster care benefits, CalWORKs, and General Assistance), legal permanency, housing, and other work.  Clients served by this project experience high rates of sexual exploitation, abuse and neglect, and mental health-related issues which the attorney will be expected to navigated in providing legal assistance.  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue on a rolling basis, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.  For a full description of the job responsibilities and the application process, please check here.

Training

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From March 25- 29, 2019, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) will be hosting the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Certificate Program.  This is an intensive training  hosted in partnership with the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) and designed to support local jurisdictions in their efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their juvenile justice systems.   The training will allow participants to develop and implement a Capstone Project designed to reduce the disparate treatment in their communities.  CJJR will only accept a limited number of applicants, so please visit the website to view the curriculum and learn how to apply to the training.  Applications will be accepted through December 14, 2018.  For more information, please visit the training website.

On Dec. 7, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the UNC School of Government will be hosting the 2018 Winter Criminal Law Update.  This webinar will cover recent criminal law decisions issued by the North Carolina appellate courts and U.S. Supreme Court and will highlight significant criminal law legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly.  School of Government criminal law experts Shea Denning and Phil Dixon Jr. will discuss a wide range of issues affecting felony and misdemeanor cases in the North Carolina state courts.  Participants will receive 1.5 hours of general CLE credit and this qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit.  All public defenders, private attorneys who handle or are interested in pursuing indigent criminal defense work, and other court personnel who handle criminal cases are invited.  The registration fee for private assigned counsel, contract attorneys, and other non-IDS employees is $75.00.  There is no registration fee for IDS state employees.   Please visit here to register online and find additional information about the webinar.  Pre-registration is required; the deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5.  As it is a live broadcast, the webinar is NOT subject to the State Bar’s 6-hour per year credit limit for computer-based CLE.  For more info, please contact Program Manager Tanya Jisa or call 919.843.8981.

That will be all for now.  We wish everyone a safe and happy weekend until next time!

OJD Week in Review: Oct. 8 – 12

We’ve all had that moment.  We walk into a bookstore, only to browse, not to buy, but then we come across that one book with that story or nugget of wisdom that intrigues us so much we have to leave with it…

Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry had one of many moments like that for himself not too long ago, but the book he left Book Planet with contained a piece of little-known history that echoes much of the language we are using now… in the Juvenile Jurisdiction Reinvestment Act.  Zogry found a copy of Public Laws of North Carolina: Session 1915.  This single volume of all public laws passed contains a chapter dedicated to juvenile delinquency and custody.

In regards to juvenile jurisdiction, the book states several times that the law, which is referred to in other places as the “Probation Courts Act”, “applies to children eighteen years of age and under.”  We’re emphasizing this section, noting that, at least for a few years, juvenile jurisdiction included 18-year-olds, not just 16- and 17-year-olds.  It also states these children “may be arrested, but without imprisonment with hardened criminals.”  However, there is one piece included that says children cannot be placed in any jail or prison enclosure where they “will be the companion of older and more hardened criminals, except where the charge is for a capital or other felony, or where the child is a known incorrigible or habitual offender.”  The older law does emphasize proper placements, such as a suitable county or State training school or a proper private homes, and probation and bail.  Of course, the new Raise the Age legislation also allows exceptions for placement of older kids who commit higher level offenses, but there is a push for more diversion programs as well.

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This law, which precedes our upcoming implementation Raise the Age, was repealed in 1919, but it is interesting to see things come full circle, right back to where we started over a hundred years ago.  And it’s also interesting that even in the digital age, you can still find something fascinating that you didn’t realize you wanted at the local bookstore.

You can read the transcription of the Probation Courts Act here on our website at the bottom of the Raise the Age page and also find a PDF copy of Public Laws of North Carolina: Session 1915 on the State Library of North Carolina website.

Job Opportunities

The Council for Children’s Rights is seeking to hire a full-time juvenile defense attorney for its Children’s Defense Team.  The juvenile defense attorney will primarily represent children in the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Court.  To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter here by TuesdayOct. 16.

The Lousiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) is currently accepting applications for a Miller staff attorney, a regional mitigation specialist, and a Miller mitigation supervisor.

Training

On ThursdayOct. 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section in collaboration with the Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a CLE in Asheville, N.C. at the Lexington Brewery.  This CLE will have presentations from IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, discussing the ethical obligations to representing youth following the full implementation of Raise the Age, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, discussing strategies for utilizing resources and advocating for the best results for clients to set them up for success.  One CLE credit hour in ethics and one general  CLE credit hour for this course are currently pending with the Bar.  A sidebar social will also be held at the same location at 5:30 p.m.  You do not need to be a member of NCAJ to attend this CLE.  Everyone can attend for free and pay their CLE credit fees directly to the Bar.  To RSVP, please contact Valerie Pearce by email here or call 919-667-3369.

RTA

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.

That is all there is this time around.  Happy Friday, thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

OJD Week in Review: Oct. 1 – 5

Happy First Friday!  This week, as far as news, we’ve got one new job opportunity added.

We also want to mention that we are still updating our Case Summaries list.  Most recently, we’ve added the published delinquency opinion for In re J.B., which deals with self-incrimination.  We do want to apologize for any issues with the links to the PDF versions of the opinions.  The addresses still work when copied into a browser, but we are aware that the hyperlink within the document gives an error message.  We apologize for that inconvenience, and we are still seeking solutions around it.

Job Opportunities

The Council for Children’s Rights is seeking to hire a full-time juvenile defense attorney for its Children’s Defense Team.  The juvenile defense attorney will primarily represent children in the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Court.  To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter here by Oct. 16.

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The Lousiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) is currently accepting applications for a Miller staff attorney, a regional mitigation specialist, and a Miller mitigation supervisor.

Training

On Oct. 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section in collaboration with the Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a CLE in Asheville, N.C. at the Lexington Brewery.  This CLE will have presentations from IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, discussing the ethical obligations to representing youth following the full implementation of Raise the Age, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, discussing strategies for utilizing resources and advocating for the best results for clients to set them up for success.  One CLE credit hour in ethics and one general  CLE credit hour for this course are currently pending with the Bar.  A sidebar social will also be held at the same location at 5:30 p.m.  You do not need to be a member of NCAJ to attend this CLE.  Everyone can attend for free and pay their CLE credit fees directly to the Bar.  To RSVP, please contact Valerie Pearce by email here or call 919-667-3369.

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.

That is all there is for this week.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

OJD Week in Review: May 14 – 18

Welcome back!  This week we’ve got two new resources from NJDC in honor of Gault and the usual list of reminders for upcoming event and application deadlines.

We’d like to ask that if you know of any new defenders around N.C. please be sure to let them know about our office and also direct them to our website, the listserv,  Twitter page, and the NCOJD Facebook page.  We want to make sure we are reaching as many juvenile justice advocates as possible and ensure everyone is made aware of all of the channels we have available in the event they need assistance.  Thanks!

Also, check out the infographic below and see what traits you think match your style!

New Resource

Earlier this week, to commemorate the 51st anniversary of In re Gault, the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) released two new resources, “Confined Without Cause: The Constitutional Right to Prompt Probable Cause Determinations for Youth” and “Ensuring Access: A Policy Advocacy Toolkit“.  The former argues the harms of placing children in detention and the need for children to have a probable cause determination within 48 hours, and the latter is a toolkit meant to aid defenders, advocates, state legislators and policymakers who desire to change local laws and court rules to ensure children have access to counsel.  The toolkit also acts as a companion piece to NJDC’s previous report, “Access Denied: A National Snapshot of States’ Failure to Protect Children’s Right to Counsel“, which was released last year to commemorate Gault‘s 50th anniversary, incorporating the five issue areas and recommendations from that report.

Traits &Profiles (3)

From Around the Community

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Council of State Governments Justice Center will host the 2018 Janet Reno Forum on Monday, May 21, at  Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  The forum will highlight strategies for restructuring juvenile justice systems to more effectively enhance public safety and improve outcomes for youth.  The event will include the presentation of the second annual Janet Reno Endowment Women’s Leadership Award, and attendees will receive a publication featuring the highlighted strategies.  Policymakers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, and other stakeholders are invited to attend.  Please register here.

The National Juvenile Justice Network will be hosting its 2018 Forum in Durham, N.C. from July 16 – 18 at the Duke University School of Law (210 Science Dr, Durham, NC 27708).  This event, co-hosted by the Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Duke Children’s Law Clinic, is meant to be a fun networking and training setting for juvenile justice advocates.  July 16 and 17 will be open to NJJN members only, and the final day will be open to the public.  For details on travel assistance, the current agenda, and lodging, please visit their site here.

Registration is now open for the 81st Annual National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Conference.  The event this year will take place at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center from July 22 – 25.  The conference will offer presentations/training tracks on  topics such as family law, juvenile justice, child welfare, and family violence.  This conference is judicially-focused and open to all those interested in the improvement of juvenile and family justice.  For registration and further info, please visit the NCJFCJ website here.  The early bird deadline to register ends on June 1.

81st Annual Conference

Job Opportunities

The Michigan State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) is seeking an Assistant Defender for its Juvenile Lifer Unit and will accept applications until Friday, May 25th.  The Unit is composed of seven attorneys and four mitigation specialists representing over a hundred clients where prosecutors are again seeking life without parole sentences.  The ideal candidate will have experience in death penalty phase or juvenile lifer resentencing hearings, experience in both trial and appellate courts, and experience negotiating with prosecutors, preparing mitigation for clients, and working with expert witnesses.  The project is funded through October 2019 for now, but funding will likely continue as the work will not be complete by then.  To view the full job description and see how to apply please review the complete job posting here.

The UNC School of Government is seeking a tenure-track full-time permanent assistant professor of juvenile justice and criminal law.  The selected candidate for this position will be expected “to write for, advise, plan courses for, and teach” public officials, including judges, magistrates, law enforcement, prosecutors and defenders.  Applications will remain open until the position is filled.  The expected starting date for the new hire will be July 1.  Please find the full details for the position and how to apply here.

Training

Registration is still open for the 2018 Southern Juvenile Defender Center Regional Summit.  The event will take place on June 8 and 9 at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  For further details and to register for the event, please check the Eventbrite page here.

The 2018 Defender Trial School, cosponsored by the School of Government and the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held Monday, July 9, through Friday, July 13, at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  The online registration deadline will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 25, and interested parties may register here.  Defender Trial School participants will use their own cases to develop a cohesive theory of defense at trial and apply that theory through all stages of trial, including voir dire, opening and closing arguments, and direct and cross-examination.  The program will offer approximately 30 hours of general CLE credit and qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit, but attendees must attend all sessions.  The Defender Trial School is open to public defenders and a limited number of private attorneys who perform a significant amount of appointed work.  The registration fee for privately assigned counsel will be $700, which includes materials, breaks, lunches and parking, however Valerie Pearce and Tucker Charns can provide info for those interested in fellowships.  For additional info, please check out the program webpage.

Registration is open for the N.C. Bar Association’s annual meeting, this year titled “The Future of Law”.   This event will be hosted at the Wilmington Convention Center from June 21 – 24.  Topics covered will include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, design thinking in the law, and the future of legal service delivery.  For further info and to register please check out the NCBA website and the event brochure.

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Please save the dates for the 2018 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences.  Parent Attorney Conference will be held Thursday, August 16 and Juvenile Defender Conference will be held Friday, August 17. Both conferences, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, offer approximately six hours of CLE credit, and feature speakers from across the state.  Registration will open in mid-June with a formal announcement and full details.

Thank you for checking out this week’s wrap-up and we will bring more soon!

Save the Date: 2018 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences

Please save the dates for the 2018 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences.  Parent Attorney Conference will be held Thursday, August 16 and Juvenile Defender Conference will be held Friday, August 17.  Both conferences, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, offer approximately six (6.0) hours of CLE credit, and feature speakers from across the state.  Registration will open in mid-June with a formal announcement and full details.

The Parent Attorney Conference provides training for attorneys, who represent parents in abuse, neglect, dependency, and termination of parental rights proceedings.  The Juvenile Defender Conference provides training for attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings.

The Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences are open to public defenders, appellate defenders, and other parent and juvenile defenders who handle a significant number of court-appointed cases.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Tanya Jisa—Program Manager—at jisa@sog.unc.edu / 919.843.8981.  If you have questions about the course content please contact Austine Long – Program Attorney – at along@sog.unc.edu / 919.962.9594.

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OJD Week In Review: Nov. 13-17

This week we would like to bring attention to a few training opportunities and at least one new job opportunity.

Good Ol’ Education

yoda trainingThe Office of the Juvenile Defender and North Carolina Advocates for Justice will be hosting a free juvenile defense CLE in Courtroom 1 of the Wayne County Courthouse on 224 E. Walnut St. in Goldsboro, N.C. on Thursday, Dec. 14.  The training, titled “Juvenile Defense – Effective Representation Now and For the Future”, will be held from 1-4 p.m. and a networking lunch will be provided from 12-1.  Presenters will include IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, and Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry.  Topics discussed will include detention advocacy, the role of counsel and dispositional advocacy and tips and expected practice changes following the implementation of Raise the Age.  Please RSVP with Valerie Pearce by email or call 919-667-3369.

 

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has released a bulletin on trauma-informed classrooms, which examines how trauma on students and adverse life experiences can impact their behavior in the classroom and offers strategies for creating trauma-informed classrooms.  In addition to this, NCJFCJ will also be hosting a free 90-minute webinar titled “Trauma-Informed Classrooms: Moving Theory into Practice” on Dec. 6, starting at noon.  The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention also has a webpage dedicated to raising awareness on trauma’s impact on children exposed to violence, which can be found here.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center will also be leading a webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 28, from 2-3 p.m. titled “Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Adjudication – How Juvenile Records Can Affect Youth Even After the Case is Over.”  To register and find more info on this please check here.

Your Future Job (?)

The Council of State Governments Justice Center has an opening for a project manager in juvenile justice.  This is a regular full-time position located in either New York, N.Y. or Bethesda, MD.  For the full details and to apply for these positions (and others), please visit their website here.

batman job

That is all for this week, but we would still like to remind the N.C. juvenile defense community to feel free to reach out to us with any questions, comments, or concerns.  Also, feel free to contribute your voice to our blog or podcast.  New points of view are always welcome!  In the meantime, have a great weekend and be assured there will be more to come soon!

OJD Week In Review: Oct. 23-27

ICYMI

Last weekend, from Oct. 20-22, the National Juvenile Defender Center held its 21st Annual Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit in Albuquerque, NM.

During this year’s Summit, topics included challenging the use of electronic monitoring in juvenile court, the impact of social media, acquiring discovery, unfair fines and fees imposed on youth and their families, expunction, and education advocacy.  N.C. Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry also joined a panel alongside Joshua Dohan, director of the Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Massachusetts, and Devon Lee, legal counsel for the Office of the State Public Defender in Wisconsin, to discuss the challenges and successes of juvenile defense systems in different states.

Other faculty attending the conference included Teayra Turner, project associate at the National Juvenile Defender Center, Richard Ross, a photographer, researcher and Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of CaliforniaRandee Waldman, director of the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic at Emory University School of Law, and Justice Barbara Vigil of the New Mexico Supreme Court, among many others.  Please find the full list of materials, publications, and other resources from the event here.

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Useful Tidbits

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a new special report on “Federal Prosecution of Commercial Exploitation of Children.”  This report examines cases prosecuted in the federal criminal court system between 2004 to 2013 and includes offenses related to the possession and production of child pornography and child sex trafficking.

The National Juvenile Justice Network has released a new policy platform which provides recommendations on improving relationships between law enforcement and youth of color.  The recommendations in this document include ending the militarization of law enforcement, racial profiling, and policies on use of force.  The full article can be found here.

SYJ

Strategies for Youth (SFY) has provided two new resources in its October newsletter.  The first of these resources, “The Parent Checklist“, is a tool that has been updated to address how school resource officers (SRO) are trained to handle and informed of the conditions of students with special needs and children with immigrant status.  The checklist also has sections to evaluate how parents are notified of complaints against their child, how resource officers are trained, the working agreements between law enforcement and schools, and SROs’ relationships with school faculty.  The second resource, “Be Her Resource“, is actually only referenced by SFY, but created by the National Black Women’s Justice Institute and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality.  “Be Her Resource” offers insights into the disproportionate contact between for girls of color and law enforcement in schools.

Last Chances and New Opps

We also want to offer one final reminder that applications for the NJDC Gault Fellowship are due on Monday, Oct. 30.  Tell any recent law school graduates you know to hurry and get those references, resumes, and cover letters polished!  The full details for how to apply can be found here.

NJDC has also distributed info for an opening for a full-time training chief with the Massachusetts-based Committee for Public Counsel and an opening for an assistant public defender for juvenile delinquency in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.  The deadline for applications are Nov. 6 and Nov. 13, respectively.

Those are all of the updates we have for now, but we will be providing more news and activities on next week.  Have a great weekend!

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.

From a Non-Lawyer Perspective: 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference Review by Marcus Thompson

On Friday, Aug. 11, juvenile defenders from across N.C. united at the U.N.C. School of Government for the 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference — and I had the honor of being among the 50+ attendees!  Only approaching my first full year as a part of the Juvenile Defender family, I was pretty excited to be able to attend this annual conference and observe juvenile defenders from various districts interact and share ideas and experiences from their time in juvenile court.  In my short time with the Office of the Juvenile Defender, I have  had the opportunity to learn about case law, the “lawyer lingo”, and other things, but this training was a great experience to not only refresh my memory of materials I’ve encountered before, but to also gain further insight into the juvenile justice system.

Program Attorney Austine Long started the event, welcoming everyone and encouraging defenders to offer suggestions for future training courses before introducing Martin Moore, assistant public defender of Buncombe County.

Moore discussed detention hearings, going over the types and culture of detention, secure custody and strategies for preparing for hearings.  Moore acknowledged that some areas of the state do not always follow their own guidelines for detention hearings.  “No one is in a better position to help the juvenile than themselves,” Moore said, emphasizing to attendees the importance of listening to the client and knowing as much as possible about their history, mental health state, and relationships when preparing for hearings.  When he posed a question to the audience about juveniles being placed in adult facilities for pre-adjudication secure custody (which violates G.S. 7B-1905), some defenders stated that this is often a result of juveniles having lied about their age, which initially surprised me.  I would have assumed in some cases it may have been the error of the police.  One participant also stated that juvenile defenders should ensure that juveniles’ info is redacted if they are placed in an adult facility for any reason.  On the topic of shackling during secure custody hearings, Moore also stated that it was “generally something we should argue against” and others concurred, pointing out the most effective argument with judges was that shackling a child would require more paperwork.  Towards the end of his presentation, Moore gave attendees a couple of hypothetical scenarios and allowed them to role play to demonstrate how they argue on behalf of a client in a detention hearing.

Following Moore, Mary Stansell, assistant public defender of Wake County, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes presented on motions to suppress.  The pair addressed In re Gault, what qualifies as custodial interrogation, children’s understanding of their rights, and violations of 4th amendment rights.  Stansell and Howes stressed that a statement can’t be used against a child in custody unless a parent is there, but children believe that the “right to remain silent” means “until a cop asks a question”, most likely due to being naturally submissive to adults and intimidated by authority figures.  The cases of Saldierna and J.D.B. were also addressed while discussing juveniles’ voluntary waiver of rights.  Identification of juveniles in court and search and seizure were also brought up before attendees were broken out into groups to work on a case study.

After lunch was provided, Terri Johnson, an attorney from Statesville, took the lead to discuss capacity, covering statutes, cases, and how to handle evaluations and issues.  Johnson emphasized looking for indicators of capacity such as age, nature and location of the offense, language barriers and a history of social, mental, or physical health issues.  She also talked about finding experts to evaluate a client’s capacity to proceed in court and common arguments made by assistant district attorneys and juvenile court counselors.  One common argument was that juveniles were manipulative and would lie simply to avoid getting into trouble.  Johnson also said that sometimes judges will commit juveniles due to lack of options or because they believe that just putting juveniles on probation will get them the mental health treatment that they need.  Having no interactions with the legal system in my teenage years beyond a couple of traffic violations, it was kind of disheartening to hear that this was the way people, especially kids with various problems, were perceived and treated in the courts.

Once Johnson finished her segment, LaToya Powell, assistant professor of public law and government for the U.N.C. School of Government, arrived to discuss updates to juvenile law in the past year.   I was very familiar with all of the cases that Powell discussed, having read her opinions and writing case summaries for our office, but the review of these cases was welcomed.  Powell succinctly summarized many of the most impactful cases, including Saldierna, T.K.D.E.P.  and the recent Raise the Age legislation.  While addressing Saldierna, Powell stated that a juvenile cannot waive the right to have a parent or attorney present during questioning due to special protections provided under General Statute 7B-2101.  After reviewing the whole series of decisions from SaldiernaPowell also noted that as of Aug. 3rd, the State had filed a motion for temporary stay on the case.  Once she summarized some of the other recent appellate court decisions, Powell went on to discuss the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, pointing out the benefits to everyone involved in the juvenile justice system, but also addressing some potential issues with the new laws, such as conflicting terms in the new gang suppression section with current criminal gang suppression rules.

Finally, James Drennan, adjunct and former Albert Coates professor for the U.N.C. School of Government, took the podium to lead the ethics portion of the training.  This part of the training was more like the psychology/philosophy class I wish I had during my college years and was applicable not only to juvenile defense, but all professions.  Drennan discussed implicit biases, which he said exists “in all of us.  No one is immune to it.”

“There is an elemental, primal need to feel like you are being treated fairly,” Drennan said after showing a video of two monkeys being rewarded, one with grapes and the other with cucumbers (resulting in its frustration) for performing the same task.  He shared statistics and reports that showed fairness is what is most desired in our court system by people, but more people from various backgrounds perceive the justice system as unfair to minorities.

Drennan also engaged attendees in several exercises to test their perception, demonstrating our fast-thinking and slow-thinking processes and how our intuitive feelings and programming from a young age affects our judgment.   Drennan spoke about how his own southern upbringing taught him to accept racial disparities as a norm and certain behaviors were maligned by the society he grew up in, and despite his life experiences, these ideas instilled in him from his youth still linger, unable to be unlearned.  He also said that controlling our fast-thinking processes when interacting with new groups or individuals and observing the patterns in our decision-making processes are important to help us to avoid our own prejudices.

Every presentation was engaging and surprisingly easy to follow, even for someone like myself, without a background in law.  While I’ve only observed a few juvenile court cases, it was good to know how other defenders prepare to present their juveniles’ cases and what must be considered prior to going in front of the judge.  It also provided clarity for me about the challenges from all sides that juvenile defenders must deal with inside and outside the courtroom.  It was also great being able to put more faces to the names I’ve seen in the past few months.  After this first year, I look forward to the 2018 Juvenile Defender Conference, and I hope to hear from and see more of the front line defenders.

If you missed the conference or would just like to review the presentations, you can find a copy of the course materials with additional references here.

Due Process Rights and Children: Fifty Years of In re Gault Part Five, the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination

Juvenile defenders, the court system, the governor, and other advocates recently celebrated a historic moment in juvenile justice. Monday was the 50th Anniversary of the In re Gault decision, which guaranteed juveniles the right to due process in delinquency proceedings. In honor of the event, this multiple part series on due process has explored the history of Gault and how it transformed juvenile court by ensuring that juveniles have the right to notice, the right to counsel, and the right to confrontation and cross-examination. This final post discusses the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and the protection it provides to juveniles, assuming they understand what it means and know how to assert it.

The Fifth Amendment Privilege and Juveniles

In 1964, Gerald Gault was ordered to serve nearly six years in a state industrial school for allegedly making a prank phone call. His adjudication was based upon a confession obtained without his parents or a lawyer being present and without advising him of the right to remain silent. The Arizona courts decided that such formalities (i.e., the advisement of rights and participation of lawyers and parents) were unnecessary in juvenile court where the goal was treatment and not punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.

Recognizing that children are more prone to coerced confessions than adults, the court rejected the notion that the Fifth Amendment privilege did not apply to children due to the labeling of juvenile court as “civil” and not criminal. 387 U.S. 1, 45. Describing the harsh realities of juvenile court, the Supreme Court held that:

juvenile proceedings to determine ‘delinquency,’ which may lead to commitment to a state institution, must be regarded as ‘criminal’ for purposes of the privilege against self-incrimination. To hold otherwise would be to disregard substance because of the feeble enticement of the ‘civil’ label-of-convenience, which has been attached to juvenile proceedings. Indeed, in over half of the states, there is not even assurance that the juvenile will be kept in separate institutions, apart from adult ‘criminals.’ In those states, juveniles may be placed in or transferred to adult penal institutions after having been found ‘delinquent’ by a juvenile court. For this purpose, at least, commitment is a deprivation of liberty. It is incarceration against one’s will, whether it is called ‘criminal’ or ‘civil.’ And our Constitution guarantees that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself when he is threatened with deprivation of his liberty[.]

Id. at 49-50.

Gault also extended the Miranda rule to juveniles, requiring law enforcement officers to advise juveniles in custody of their Fifth Amendment rights prior to any questioning. Under the Miranda rule, statements made by a juvenile while “in custody” are inadmissible in court unless Miranda warnings were given and the juvenile knowingly and voluntarily waived the juvenile’s rights. The Gault court recognized that “special problems may arise with respect to waiver of the privilege by or on behalf of children,” but did not establish any specific requirements for such waivers. Id. at 55. As a result, state laws vary significantly with respect to whether and how juveniles may waive their rights and whether they must do so in the presence of a parent or an attorney.

NC Juvenile Code Requirements

North Carolina law provides juveniles with special protections that go well beyond Gault’s minimum requirements. G.S. 7B-2405, which codifies the privilege against self-incrimination and other due process rights for juveniles, mandates that trial courts shall protect these rights in the adjudication hearing. The Juvenile Code also requires:

Notice to Parents When a Juvenile is in Custody. When a juvenile is taken into temporary custody by a law enforcement officer without a court order, the officer must notify the juvenile’s parents and inform them of their right to be present with their child until a decision is made as to whether continued custody is necessary. G.S. 7B-1901(a)(1).

Advisement of the Right to Parental Presence During Custodial Interrogation. In NC, juveniles under the age of 18 are entitled to have a parent present during a custodial interrogation. Thus, before a law enforcement officer questions any juvenile who is in custody, the officer must advise the juvenile of the following rights: (1) that the juvenile has a right to remain silent; (2) that any statement made by the juvenile can be used against him or her; (3) that the juvenile has the right to have a parent, guardian, or custodian present during questioning; and (4) that the juvenile has the right to an attorney and that one will be appointed if the juvenile is not represented and wants representation. G.S. 7B-2101(a). When officers fail to give these warnings, any statements made by a juvenile while in custody are inadmissible in court. In re K.D.L., 207 N.C. App. 453 (2010).

No Waiver of Rights by Juveniles Under Age 16. NC law now requires that when a juvenile is under the age of 16, a parent or an attorney must be present during the custodial interrogation in order for the juvenile’s statements to be admissible in court. Also, if an attorney is not present, both the parent and juvenile must be informed of the juvenile’s rights; although, only the juvenile can waive his or her rights. G.S. 7B-2101(b).

Advisement of Rights When Accepting Juvenile’s Admission. A trial court may only accept a juvenile’s admission (i.e., guilty plea) after personally addressing the juvenile to make six mandatory inquiries, including informing the juvenile that the juvenile has the right to remain silent and that anything the juvenile says may be used against him or her. G.S. 7B-2407. Because there is a greater duty to protect the rights of juveniles in juvenile proceedings, the court’s failure to address even one of these mandatory inquiries is reversible error. In re T.E.F., 359 N.C. 570 (2005).

Advisement of Rights When Juvenile Testifies. In order to comply with the mandate in G.S. 7B-2405 to protect a juvenile’s privilege against self-incrimination, trial court judges must advise juveniles of the right to remain silent before allowing the juvenile to testify in his or her own delinquency proceeding. In re J.R.V., 212 N.C. App. 205 (2011).

Requiring the advisement of these warnings prior to interrogations by law enforcement and before a juvenile enters admissions in court increases the likelihood that juveniles will understand their rights and will have an opportunity to exercise them. However, potential barriers may still exist.

The Practical Reality

Some advocates argue that these statutory protections do not go far enough, if juveniles cannot fully understand their rights or effectively assert them. According to this article in the ABA Journal, most youth find Miranda rights to be confusing, and nearly 90% of them waive their rights without understanding the consequences.

Another potential barrier to juveniles exercising their rights is the requirement that juveniles must satisfy adult legal standards to trigger their rights under Miranda. Until six years ago when the Supreme Court decided J.D.B. v. North Carolina, police officers applied a “reasonable adult” standard to determine when they must advise a juvenile of Miranda and juvenile rights. J.D.B. held that the Miranda custody test must account for a child’s youth and its unique characteristics. However, recent appellate decisions reveal that courts have not significantly changed how they apply the Miranda analysis to interrogations of juveniles (see this bulletin addressing the reasonable child standard).

Advocates also argue that juveniles should not be allowed to waive their rights without the assistance of a parent or attorney. North Carolina law, by requiring the presence of a parent or attorney during custodial interrogations of juveniles younger than 16, implicitly recognizes that children lack the capacity to understand their rights without a helpful adult. Despite this protection, juveniles continue to face barriers when attempting to invoke their rights.

In 2015, the NC Court of Appeals held in State v. Saldierna that a 16-year-old possibly attempted to invoke his right to have a parent present during a police interrogation when he asked the detective if he could call his mother, which triggered a requirement that the interrogating officers clarify his statement before proceeding. However, last December, the NC Supreme Court reversed the decision. It held that a juvenile must clearly and unambiguously invoke the statutory right to have a parent present during a custodial interrogation, just like an adult must do to invoke Miranda rights. State v. Saldierna, __ N.C. __, 794 S.E.2d 474 (2016). A prior blog post discusses why the Supreme Court’s decision possibly conflicts with J.D.B.’s mandate that police officers and courts must account for the special vulnerability of juveniles during police interrogations.

Despite these potential barriers, significant progress has been made in the fifty years since Gault, especially in North Carolina.  Let us know your thoughts about additional ways courts can better protect a juvenile’s rights.

For more, please check out the other pages on the Gault at 50 series on this site and the “On the Civil Side” blog by Professor LaToya Powell.