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.

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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.

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: Mar. 19-23

This week we only have reminders for training and job opportunities again, with only a few other job opportunities that will be closing soon and some news from around the community you may have missed peppered in.  Fresh updates are limited right now, but we expect some more news very soon.

Job/Fellowship Opportunities

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is currently hiring a strategic communications manager.  The individual in this position will be responsible for crafting organizational messaging, overseeing editorial excellence, and working with leadership to implement a communications strategy that is creative, forward-thinking, and reflective of NJDC’s vision.  This position will remain opened until filled.  To find further info about the position and how to apply, please go here.

East Bay Community Law Center  will continue accepting applications for a Director of its Youth Defender Clinic (YDC) until Monday, March 26.  YDC provides legal representation and advocacy to young people in school discipline and delinquency proceedings, including assisting young people in overcoming barriers to education and employment created by juvenile court records and court-ordered debt.  The Director will lead YDC’s work, which consists of representing clients in juvenile delinquency and school discipline proceedings, supervising and training law students on cases, and engaging in policy advocacy related to court-debt and juvenile probation.  For more information and to apply please check here.

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The Defender Association of Philadelphia has an opening for Chief of its Juvenile Unit (details for position available here).  Applications for this position will be closing on Monday, Mar. 26, as well.  Cover letters and resumes should be submitted to Sherri Darden here.

The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) is seeking a mid-level policy attorney to handle youth justice issues in Santa Clara County.  Applications will be accepted through Apr. 15.  For further details and to apply please check 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.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is still 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 host an informational webinar on Apr. 2 that you can register for here.  Applications for the Institute (found here) must be submitted by Apr. 23.

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Training

Disability Rights North Carolina will be hosting its 2018 Disability Advocacy Conference on Apr. 19.  The conference offers five CLE credits for lawyers, including one credit hour for substance abuse/mental health awareness.  Sessions include parental rights, restrictive interventions in public schools, guardianship reforms, and a session exclusively tailored to attorneys titled “Recognizing and Responding to a Lawyer with a Mental Health Disorder”, just to name a few.  To learn more about this event and register please visit their web page here.

From Around the Community

Also, in case you missed it, the N.C. Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section held its council meeting and mixer at Whiskey Kitchen last night.  Check out their Twitter to see more photos and catch up on other news from the organization.

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Also, if you get a chance, please take time to read Rep. Jon Hardister’s article discussing Raise the Age from the Greensboro News & Record.  In his writing, Hardister acknowledges behavioral differences of juveniles, briefly praises Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice William Lassiter and references the recent Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee Report.

That does it for now.  Be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter feed for updates during the week as well.  If you are a juvenile defense attorney in North Carolina, please contact us with your name and email to be added to our listserv and feel free to engage in with others in the juvenile defense community through our channels as well.  We will have more info and features for you coming soon.

“Incapacity to Proceed and Juveniles” by Professor LaToya Powell

On Friday, Professor LaToya Powell added a new entry titled “Incapacity to Proceed and Juveniles” to the On the Civil Side blog.  In this post, Powell breaks down the conditions to determine if a juvenile defendant has the capacity to participate in court proceedings.  Please take a moment to read her full article here.

“From In re Gault to Raising the Age: There is Always Room for More Justice” by Guest Blogger Matt Herr

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As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of In re Gault this month, it is a great opportunity to take stock of how far we have come and where we stand on juvenile justice issues in North Carolina today.

In re Gault enshrined in American jurisprudence an important due process “floor” for juveniles by recognizing that they have at least the same due process rights as adults in our criminal justice system. As a result, juveniles today are receiving more due process protections in our courts.

North Carolina’s juvenile justice system also has made numerous reforms over the past two decades and is more focused on rehabilitation than it has been ever before. This means that more young people are getting set back on track and held accountable for their actions without having their lives upended and their futures put at risk.

It also looks like 2017 may be the year that North Carolina joins the rest of the country in “Raising the Age.” As of last month, North Carolina became the last state in the country that automatically prosecutes both 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, no matter how minor the offense. The data on our current approach consistently shows that it leads to worse outcomes, makes our communities less safe, and costs taxpayers more.

Disability Rights NC cares about this issue because a significant number of the youth in our criminal justice system have disabilities. Moreover, children with disabilities already have a hard enough time accessing housing, education, and employment during those crucial transition years into adulthood and beyond. When we further saddle those children with the 1,000 “collateral consequences” of having an adult criminal record and the trauma of incarcerating them with adults—where they are significantly more likely to be physically or sexually victimized and manipulated by gangs—we set those children up for failure. It increases their future reliance on government assistance and makes it more likely that they will resort to future criminal activity and re-enter the criminal justice system. That ends up costing North Carolina taxpayers even more in the long run and has serious repercussions for families throughout our state.

We are privileged to be part of a broad coalition focused on Raising the Age this year—including the North Carolina courts, the North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender, law enforcement, and stakeholders in every corner of the political spectrum. We are working to support the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (HB280), which would Raise the Age to 18 in North Carolina for all but the most serious, violent felonies. It would keep 97% of the youth who get mixed up with the law in the juvenile system and get our kids the supports they need to grow into successful, contributing members of society. That bill passed the North Carolina House last week with overwhelming support. It now moves on to the Senate, where we will continue the work of bringing meaningful change to North Carolina’s youth.

Young people in our criminal justice system, and particularly those with disabilities, are the most vulnerable defendants in our criminal justice system. That will never change. Nor will the fundamental truth that the law is at its most when it protects the least of us. If there is one lesson we can learn from working with these kids—whether through protecting their basic rights, making practical reforms to focus on rehabilitation, or recognizing under the law that they are, in fact, children—it is that there is always room for more justice.

Matthew Herr is an attorney and policy analyst with Disability Rights NC. Follow him at @MattHerrTweets.