OJD Week in Review: Apr. 22 – 26

Happy Friday and Happy Passover!  This week we have a new tip, a new post from the School of Government and another community event worth noting, a couple of new resources, and approaching deadlines for and updates to training and job opportunities.


Tip of the Week – Discovery

Defenders – you have a statutory right to discovery in all of your juvenile cases (§7B-2300-2303).  Don’t be afraid to use it!  Some jurisdictions provide it without a motion, but it’s never bad practice to file your motion regardless.  You can find a sample discovery motion and order here on our website.

From Around the Community

From the On the Civil Side blog, Jacqui Greene added a new post discussing the general statute concerning the confidentiality of juvenile court records.  In this blog, Greene answers two of the most common questions she has received about the statute:  “Who is the juvenile’s attorney?” and “What court can order release of a juvenile record?”.  You can find the full post here.

In honor of the 52nd anniversary of In re Gault, the Supreme Court decision that ultimately allowed children the right to counsel, the National Juvenile Defender Center will be hosting “The Story of (In)Justice” in at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. on May 15.  The event will take place from 6 – 8 p.m. and will feature and honor Yusef Salaam, a community activist and Central Park Five exonoree,  and Sarah Burns, award-winning filmmaker and author of The Central Park Five.  To register and learn more about this event, please check the link here.

New Resource

The Campaign for Youth Justice has recently released a new report.  This document, titled “Alternatives to Adult Incarceration for Youth Charged as Adults“, offers insight into new laws and programs that defense attorneys can suggest in order to ensure youthful clients receive proper treatment.  Please find the report here.

The National Juvenile Defender Center has released a new resource, “Juvenile Facility Checklist for Defenders: Advocating for the Safety and Well-Being of Young People“.  This checklist is designed to allow defenders to evaluate the facilities where their clients may be held.  You can view it here.

Job and Fellowship Opportunity

The deadline to apply for the  National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN)‘s 2019 Youth Justice Leadership Institute is Monday, April 29. The Institute is a year-long fellowship program focused on developing a strong base of well-prepared and well-equipped advocates and organizers who reflect the communities most affected by juvenile justice system practices and policies.  This program is geared towards individuals of color working as professionals in the juvenile justice field, who may also be young adults who are system survivors themselves, or family members of someone in the system.  Each year, 10 fellows from across the country are selected to develop their leadership and advocacy skills in the context of a robust curriculum around youth justice reform.  The fellowship is completed concurrently with fellows’ current employment, so fellows do not have to leave their jobs to participate in the Institute.  The fellowship includes two fully financed retreats, mentoring and frequent distance learning opportunities.  Interested in learning more about the Institute, or know someone who might be?  To learn more or apply, find additional info here.


The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) in New Orleans is seeking applications for the position of Staff Defense Investigator.  The responsibilities of defense investigators include working closely with staff attorneys and other defense team members to determine the scope, timing, and direction of defense investigation; reviewing and analyzing discovery, including police reports and other documentation; locating and collecting records; serving subpoenas; taking detailed witness statements; and thoroughly documenting all work and information in detailed memorandum.  The position requires a deep commitment to the defense of youth and to LCCR’s client-directed ethic.  Applicants must submit a cover letter; a resume or CV, including an email address and daytime and evening telephone numbers; and a list of professional references, including the name, address, telephone number and, if available, email address for each reference.  This posting will be open until Wed., May 1.  This position will remain open until filled.  For further details and to apply, please check here.

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is currently seeking applications for two positions: a Staff Attorney and a 2019-2020 Gault Fellow.  The staff attorney is a mid-level position who will be responsible for conducting extensive legal research, analysis, and writing; will respond to requests for assistance from juvenile defense attorneys or stakeholders in the field; and may be called upon to provide training.  The staff attorney will work in partnership with our leadership team, staff, and community to advance NJDC’s mission and programs.  This position is open until filled.  The 2019-2020 Gault Fellow is a one-year fellowship opportunity that will run concurrently with the first year of the 2019-2021 Gault Fellowship.  The Gault Fellows collaborate with NJDC staff to develop legal and policy initiatives around a broad range of juvenile defense issues.  The Fellows perform extensive legal research and analysis for NJDC and assist with the provision of training and technical assistance to the juvenile defense community.  This position is an entry-level position intended for recent law school graduates and current 3L/4LEs (Class of 2018 or 2019).  The application deadline is May 6, 2019.  For more information, please go here.

The Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office is currently seeking a new assistant public defender.  The selected candidate will represent indigent clients charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses and will be expected to analyze laws, facts, written documents, conduct legal research, develop litigation strategies.   For the full job description and to apply, please go here.


The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is thrilled to be hosting the 2019 Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit in West Palm Beach, FL from October 25 – 27.  As in years past, we look to our community of juvenile defense attorneys and juvenile policy advocates to help us build a vibrant and thought-provoking agenda that answers to the community’s needs.  For more on the proposals, how to submit, and the selection criteria, please find more info here.  All workshop proposals are due on May 6, 2019.  If you have any questions about the proposal or the proposal process, please feel free to contact NJDC’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance Tim Curry by email or call 202-452-0010.

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The online registration deadline for the 2019 Defender Trial School, cosponsored by the School of Government and the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be June 25.  The event will be held Monday, July 8, through Friday, July 12, at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  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 roughly 29 hours of general CLE credit.  The Defender Trial School is open to public defenders and a limited number of private attorneys who perform a significant amount of appointed work.  IDS has expanded the number of fellowships available to cover the registration fee, but please note there is a limited number of fellowships.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please email Kate Jennings or Professor John Rubin or call 919-962-3287/919-962-2498.  To register, find a fellowship application, see the agenda, or find any other information, please check out the course page here.

The Southern Juvenile Defender Center (SJDC) proudly announces the ninth annual Regional Summit, taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 7-8, 2019.  You’re invited to come together with your colleagues from across the Southern states to participate in this one-of-a-kind program.  If interested in attending, please register here for the Summit before May 13.  For out-of-state attorneys, partial scholarship assistance is available to cover lodging expenses on first-come, first-served basis.  Scholarship recipients must be willing to share a two-bed hotel room with another attendee and to pay $25 per night toward the cost of the room.  To inquire about a scholarship, contact Randee J. Waldman and Richard Pittman.  The deadline for scholarship applications is May 9th.  CLE credits have been applied for.  For more information on lodging, the agenda, and fees, please visit the Eventbrite page here.

The North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights, Education Law, Criminal Justice Sections, and Minorities in the Profession Committee are proud to present the Racial Equity Institute’s (REI) “Groundwater Presentation: An Introduction to Racial Equity”!  This free event will take place on May 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bar Center (8000 Weston Parkway).  More information and a link for registration will be available soon, but if you have any questions about the event, please contact Andi Bradford.  (Please note that while the event is free for everyone to attend, no more than 175 attendees will be permitted, so please register early!)

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR)‘s Youth in Custody Certificate Program will be held July 22 – 26 at Georgetown University in partnership with Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.  This training is designed to help juvenile justice system leaders and partners improve outcomes for youth in custodial settings, covering critical areas including racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, reentry planning and support, and culture change.

That is all we’ve got for now.  If social media is your thing, please check us out on Twitter and Facebook, like and follow us, and make sure to subscribe to the blog!  Have a great weekend.


OJD Week in Review: Mar. 11 – 15

Happy Friday!  This week there are few additions, but we have two new training/networking events to share, the new weekly tip, and reminders for upcoming deadlines below.

Tip of the Week – Discovery

discovery-memeThe Juvenile Code has similar discovery rules to those followed in adult criminal court.  Though Juvenile Court is in District Court, most jurisdictions understand that discovery transfer is a practice for both misdemeanors and felonies in Juvenile Court.  Even if there’s an “automatic discovery” rule in your jurisdiction, you should always file a motion  to receive discovery.  Note that the state may also file a reciprocal motion, which may impact your decision on presenting expert opinion testimony or reports.


Registration for the “2019 Regional Training for Indigent Defense: Special Issues in Felony Cases” is now open to IDS contract attorneys and to privately assigned counsel representing indigent clients.  The training will focus on special issues in felony cases and include a two hour session on gangs.  The Regional Training will be held on Thursday, March 21 at the East Carolina Heart Institute (ECHI) at ECU, located at 115 Heart Drive, Greenville, NC 27834.  The training will take place in the Conference Room beginning at 12:45 p.m.  Free parking is available in the visitor lots adjacent to ECHI as well as the Family Medicine building next door.  Refreshments will be provided.  To register and to find additional program information, visit their course page here.  The registration deadline for the Regional Training is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 18.  The registration fee is $95.00, which includes materials, CLE credit, and snacks.  The training will offer 3.0 hours of general CLE credit.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Program Attorney, Austine Long at along@sog.unc.edu or 919.962.9594 or Program Manager, Tanya Jisa at jisa@sog.unc.edu or 919.843.8981.

SJDC Regional Summit 2019 Save the Date1

Save the Date!  The Southern Juvenile Defender Center will be hosting its 9th Annual Regional Summit on June 7th & 8th in New Orleans this year.  More details should arrive soon, but please contact Randee Waldman or Richard Pittman with questions.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) is accepting applications for its Youth in Custody Certificate Program, to be held July 22 – 26 at Georgetown University in partnership with Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.  This training is designed to help juvenile justice system leaders and partners improve improve outcomes for youth in custodial settings, covering critical areas including racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, reentry planning and support, and culture change.  Please apply by April 12.

Fellowship Opportunity

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN)  is now accepting applications to the 2019 Youth Justice Leadership Institute!  The Institute is a year-long fellowship program focused on developing a strong base of well-prepared and well-equipped advocates and organizers who reflect the communities most affected by juvenile justice system practices and policies.  This program is geared towards individuals of color working as professionals in the juvenile justice field, who may also be young adults who are system survivors themselves, or family members of someone in the system.  Each year, 10 fellows from across the country are selected to develop their leadership and advocacy skills in the context of a robust curriculum around youth justice reform.  The fellowship is completed concurrently with fellows’ current employment, so fellows do not have to leave their jobs to participate in the Institute.  The fellowship includes two fully financed retreats, mentoring and frequent distance learning opportunities.  Interested in learning more about the Institute, or know someone who might be?  NJJN will be hosting two informational webinars on March 21 and April 4, led by the Institute’s coordinator, Diana Onley-Campbell.  To learn more or apply, find additional info here, or please register for one of the informational webinars here.  The deadline to apply for the fellowship will be 11:59 p.m. on April 29th.

That is all we’ve got for you this week.  There should be a few more announcements and additional details to add to the info above in the coming weeks.  Continue to check us out on Twitter and Facebook throughout the week for other juvenile justice-related articles and more.

Final Reminder to Register for 2018 Felony Defender Training

Registration for the 2018 Felony Defender Training scheduled for February 14-16, is available at https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/felony-defender-training. This training is co-sponsored by the UNC School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services.  The agenda is posted on the course webpage.

Program: This program is for attorneys who are new to handling felony cases. Topics will include discovery and investigation, suppression and other superior court motions, lab reports, preserving the record, jury instructions, sentencing, and trial skills— including conducting voir dire —necessary to handle felony cases from start to finish. The program is comprised of plenary sessions and intensive small group workshops.

Participants: The Felony Defender Training is open to public defenders and private attorneys who perform a significant amount of appointed work. The program is geared toward attorneys who are new to representing defendants charged with felonies in superior court. Attendance is limited to 48 participants in light of the intensive small group work.

LOCATION, DATES, & TIMES: This training will be held at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus February 14-16, 2018.  Check-in is from 9:15 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday.  The training ends at 12:45 p.m. on Friday. Lunch will be provided Wednesday and Thursday as well as light snacks and refreshments during most breaks.

REGISTRATION: We are currently at capacity for Private Assigned Counsel, Contract Attorneys, and other non-IDS employees, however there is a waiting list should additional space become available.  You will only be notified of space becoming available if you are on the waiting list.  To be placed on the waiting list, please send your name and phone number to Tanya Jisa at jisa@sog.unc.edu.

IDS employees may still register online, as well as to find directions, hotel information, and other program details—including our cancellation and refund policy—by visiting https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/felony-defender-training. Space is limited and preregistration is required; the registration deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please plan on attending all sessions.

Note that our registration system requires one unique email address per profile created, so each person who plans to attend must register separately using an individual email address. As we correspond with participants primarily through email, please ensure that your email address is current if you are a returning customer.

FEE: The registration fee for private assigned counsel is $415, which includes all materials, parking, breaks, and lunches. Thanks to support from IDS, there is no fee for IDS state employees.

Credit & Certification: The program offers 15.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit, including 1 hour of ethics/professional responsibility, 1 hour of mental health/substance abuse, and qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit.

Hotel Information: A block of rooms had been reserved at the Holiday Inn Express Chapel Hill, however the deadline for the reduced rate has passed. To reserve a room online at the standard rate, please visit www.hiexpress.com/chapelhillnc or call the hotel directly at 919.489.7555.

TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT—IDS STATE EMPLOYEES ONLY: Travel reimbursement for IDS state employees is contingent upon state rules and regulations. For all questions regarding travel reimbursement, please contact Elisa Wolper, Fiscal Officer at IDS, at 919.354.7200. Please note that travel reimbursement forms must be submitted to IDS Financial Services within 30 days of travel or reimbursement will be denied.

Additional Information: We look forward to seeing you in February.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Tanya Jisa at jisa@sog.unc.edu / 919.843.8981 or Phil Dixon—Defender Educator—at dixon@sog.unc.edu / 919.966.4248.

“Introducing the 2017 Edition of the N.C. Juvenile Defender Manual” by Guest Blogger David Andrews

David Andrews Profile Picture - Small

Late last year, John Rubin of the UNC School of Government and I published the 2017 edition of the North Carolina Juvenile Defender Manual. This edition was three years in the making.  In addition, its publication coincided with a year-long initiative to commemorate the 50th anniversary of In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967), the Supreme Court decision that transformed the protections for juveniles in delinquency cases.

The new edition of the manual builds on the structure of the original 2008 edition and contains discussions of recent changes to the Juvenile Code, and analysis of case law from the past ten years. Here are some of the major changes to the manual:

  1. Appeals (Chapter 16): I handle juvenile delinquency appeals and so, naturally, one part of the manual that saw some significant changes was the chapter devoted to appeals. The primary change to this chapter involves a new section on transmitting appeals to the Appellate Defender, which is a process that is sometimes overlooked by attorneys, but can result in complications and delays. We also added new sections on appeals by the State and appeals involving the denial of a motion to suppress.
  1. Suppression Motions (Chapter 11): Prior to 2015, there were no procedures in the Juvenile Code for suppression motions. However, in 2015, the General Assembly enacted a law that provided specific procedures for suppression motions filed in juvenile delinquency cases. The new edition of the manual describes those procedures, as well as recent opinions on suppression issues, such as D.B. v. North Carolina, 564 U.S. 261 (2011), and State v. Saldierna, 369 N.C. 401 (2016).
  1. Registration of juveniles adjudicated delinquent for sex crimes (Chapter 13): The new edition of manual includes a lengthier discussion of state and federal registration requirements for juveniles adjudicated delinquent for certain sex crimes.
  1. Modifying dispositional orders (Chapter 13): The new edition of the manual provides an expanded discussion of motions in the cause under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2600 and a discussion of two recent cases that shed light on the criteria for modifying dispositional orders.
  1. The juvenile’s right to access records (Chapter 10): In the chapter on discovery, John and I included a section on the juvenile’s right to access the clerk’s records for cases involving the abuse, neglect, or dependency of the juvenile; DSS records of cases in which the juvenile is under placement by a court or has been placed under protective custody by DSS; and records concerning the juvenile that are maintained by law enforcement and the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice.
  1. Raise the age legislation (Chapter 19): As John and I neared completion of the manual, the General Assembly enacted legislation to raise the age of jurisdiction for juvenile delinquency cases from 15- to 17-years-old. John and I added a short chapter that discusses portions of the legislation that went into effect in December 2017. We also provided a link to a primer by LaToya Powell on the changes that take effect in December 2019.

We hope that juvenile defenders around the state find the new edition of the manual useful. If you have questions or comments about the manual, please send them to David Andrews at david.w.andrews@nccourts.org or John Rubin at rubin@sog.unc.edu.


David W. Andrews is an Assistant Appellate Defender in the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD), a division of the Office of Indigent Defense Services. OAD staff attorneys represent indigent clients in criminal, juvenile delinquency, and involuntary commitment appeals to the Court of Appeals of North Carolina and the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

OJD Week In Review: Oct. 23-27


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.


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.


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!

Hey, Where’s My Discovery?


What’s the Issue?

Recently our office has been made aware that not every jurisdiction handles the distribution of discovery the same way.  Traditionally, the assistant district attorney will receive discovery from law enforcement and share with defense counsel. Some jurisdictions practice “open file discovery,” where the prosecution delinquency file is made available to defense counsel to inspect and copy. Yet in other jurisdictions, the juvenile court counselor receives the discovery from law enforcement, and places it in their file, separate from the court file.

What’s the Law?

Under NCGS 7B-2300, the petitioner must disclose, on motion of the juvenile:

  • statements of the juvenile
  • names of witnesses
  • documents and tangible objects and
  • reports of examinations and tests


Presumably, the U.S. and North Carolina criminal rights to discovery would also apply (see NCGS 7B-2405).   The confusion arises because the term “petitioner” is defined as “[t]he individual who initiates court action by the filing of a petition . . . alleging the matter for adjudication.”  It’s unclear if this refers to the court counselor, who procedurally initiates the court action by determining whether to file a complaint as a petition, the prosecutor, who has the authority to file the petition and overrule a decision not to file, or someone else.

Because the court counselor generally makes the determination of whether or not to file the complaint, she might receive discoverable information, such as described in 7B-2300, to make the decision.  Note that whatever information is in the court counselor’s possession, either in document or electronic form, is immediately accessible to the attorney via NCGS 7B-3001, and doesn’t need a discovery motion.  There doesn’t appear to be any law or rule which provides that, after the decision is made to file the petition, the discovery is turned over to the assistant district attorney.  So it would seem this is why the information may remain with the court counselor, instead of with the assistant district attorney.

Best Practice?

Receiving discovery is essential to juvenile defense practice.  It’s impossible to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s case without law enforcement field reports, statements, evidence logs, examination reports, etc.  And remember that the number one piece of evidence against youth is their own words!  So should juvenile defenders rely on court counselors or prosecutors to receive this critical information?

While some may say it depends on the relationships you have with these individuals, it seems that the best practice would be to receive discovery from the assistant district attorney.  First, prosecutors are used to this process, and may even have a defender-friendly open file policy.  Second, prosecutors, as trained attorneys, are better equipped to make the legal decisions of what is and is not discoverable.  And on that note, if you have trouble receiving what you ought to be receiving and have to file motions to compel, the court counselors aren’t in a position to argue to the court the legal validity of their position.  Additionally, it may be better practice to have a set, established plan to receive this information in a routine manner.  Individuals may come and go, and you don’t want to be reinventing this process every time there’s turnover.