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This law, which precedes our upcoming implementation Raise the Age, was repealed in 1919, but it is interesting to see things come full circle, right back to where we started over a hundred years ago.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: Feb. 26-Mar. 2

This week, we’ve got some not-so-fresh news, but there is a profile piece we’d like to acknowledge, and we would like to remind everyone of some of the upcoming training and current job opportunities available around the community.

Job/Fellowship Opportunities

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.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is now accepting applications for its 2018-19 Youth Justice Leadership Institute.  This is an annual year-long fellowship program that selects 10 people of color working as professionals in the juvenile justice field to participate in a curriculum to develop their leadership and advocacy skills.  The fellowship can be completed with the fellows’ current employment, so those selected will not have to leave their jobs to participate in the Institute.  The fellowship will include two fully financed retreats, mentoring and frequent distance learning opportunities.  NJJN will be hosting two informational webinars, one on Mar. 8 and another on Apr. 2.  To register for one of these webinars, please visit here.  Applications for the Institute (found here) must be submitted by Apr. 23.

Welcome Colleen Mullan

This may be old news to some, but we wanted to take a moment to bring attention to the Council for Children’s Rights’ (CFCR) selection of Colleen Mullan as their new director of Children’s Defense.   Mullan, who has been a part of the specialized children’s advocacy organization since 2012, previously as a staff attorney in mental health and a juvenile defense attorney, took the leadership position after the departure of former Director Mitchell Feld.  You can read CFCR’s full blog post here.

Training Time

There are still a few spots open for “Higher-Level Felony Defense, Part I” training, so please hurry if you are interested in attending!  This training will take place April 9-10 and will offer 9.0 CLE credit hours.  Topics will include working with investigators and experts, building rapport with clients, investigation and discovery, the theory of defense, and third-party records.  Members of public defender offices should get approval from the Chief Public Defender to register and contractors and privately assigned counsel must receive a fellowship from IDS Director Tom Maher.  For more information on registration, the agenda, and hotel information please visit here.

Today is the last day that the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform(CJJR) will be accepting applications for its Youth in Custody Certificate Program, to be held June 11–15, 2018, at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  This training is designed for juvenile justice system leaders and partners working to improve outcomes for youth in post-adjudication custody.  The curriculum covers critical areas, including culture change and leadership, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, and reentry planning and support.  Upon approval of a Capstone Project Proposal initiating or building on local reform efforts, participants receive an Executive Certificate from Georgetown University and join the CJJR Fellows Network of more than 850 individuals.  If interested, please see how to apply here.

Events Around the Community

The North Carolina Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section will be holding a council meeting on March 22, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.  A networking reception will be held directly after the meeting at Whiskey Kitchen on 201 W. Martin St. and appetizers and a cash bar will be provided.  All section members and attorneys who could be members are welcome to attend and may RSVP here.

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That is all we have for you fine folks this week.  We still invite everyone in the juvenile defense community to please contact us if there is anything we could assist with (questions, concerns, or suggestions).  We are also always open to giving every opportunity to defenders to voice their opinions and share their experiences openly in the community through our various communication/social media channels–so don’t be shy if there is a useful tip you’re itching to share, a game-changing case you’ve worked on, or some other sage advice you’d like to impart to your friends and fellow defenders.  We will bringing more updates next week, so be sure to check back!

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.

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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.