OJD Week in Review: Mar. 25 – 29

The end of another week and another week in review at the close of March 2019!  This week we are bringing a new tip, a relevant blog post, and some reminders from the past weeks.  Please note upcoming deadlines!

Tip of the Week – School Searches

Was your client searched at school?  Was the SRO (school resource officer) involved?  The lower standard for school officials only applies if: the SRO was involved at the request of the school official; involvement was minimal relative to the school official; SRO did not initiate the investigation, and did not direct the school official’s actions (In re D.D., 146 N.C. App. 309 (2001)).  That means if the SRO is standing outside the door and the school official is consulting with the SRO regarding questioning your client – the SRO is directing the school official’s actions.  Consider filing a motion to suppress the results of the search!

From Around the Community

From the UNC School of Government’s On the Civil Side blog, Jacqui Greene has posted a new blog this week discussing the 2018 amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.  In her post, Greene focuses on three specific changes regarding evidence-based and promising programs and practices, core requirements to address disproportionate minority contact, and requirements in identifying and treating mental health and substance abuse disorders.  Please take a moment to read this post here.

On teh Civil Side

Training

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 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.

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!)

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.

Job and Fellowship Opportunity

IGotTheJob

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 its second and final informational webinar on ThursdayApril 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.

The National Juvenile Defender Center is seeking a Mid-Level Staff Attorney with recent front-line juvenile defense experience to join our team.  The staff attorney 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.  The position encompasses a diverse set of responsibilities, including: provide direct support and technical assistance to juvenile defense attorneys, policy advocates, and other juvenile court stakeholders working to improve access to and the quality of juvenile defense representation at the state, local, tribal, and national levels; support juvenile defense practice and policy, generally, by conducting extensive legal research and analysis and drafting reports, articles, fact sheets, and advocacy tools; act as a liaison with NJDC’s network of regional juvenile defender centers; engage in critical and strategic analysis of issues impacting youth rights and equity; contribute to and manage an assigned portfolio of projects while also being available to assist other team members as needed; and collaborate with coalition partner organizations.  For more instructions on how to apply and further job description details, please check here.  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

That will be all for this week.  Please be sure to join us over on Twitter and Facebook to get more juvenile justice-related info throughout the week and make sure to subscribe to the blog!

Duke Law Hosts JLWOP Panel

JLWOP Panel

On Monday, Feb. 11, the Duke Criminal Law Society and Duke Law Professor Brandon L. Garrett (pictured speaking at the lectern stand on the right) hosted a panel discussion regarding their newest study, “Juvenile Life Without Parole in North Carolina.”  The panel featured (seated from left to right) David Andrews of the Office of Appellate DefenderBen Finholt of N.C. Prisoner Legal Services,  and N.C. State Representative Pricey Harrison.

The event opened with an introduction of the panel by Garrett, before panelists presented their own perspectives on the issue of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) and the study released by Garrett and his colleagues.

Harrison emphasized the negative economic impact JLWOP has on N.C.  She reinforced the argument that juveniles could contribute much more to society if given the opportunity to get an education and job, rather than being held in a facility on hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for a lifetime.

Finholt pointed out the State’s abuse of JLWOP.  “So far, as far as we know with the data we have, there has not been a single JLWOP resentencing hearing where the option of LWOP was on the table and the State has consented to taking it off the table,” he said.  “In every single resentencing hearing where LWOP is an option, the State has sought LWOP.  Every single time.  And I don’t think that matches what the U.S. Supreme Court has told us is supposed to happen in Roper, Graham, Miller, Montgomery.  I think in the whole line, it’s pretty clear that this should be rare.  This should only be used in exceptionally bad circumstances, and I think that is generally the way it has not been handled.”

Andrews also touched on Miller and its implications, disproportionate minority contact, and reform.

“When we talk about juvenile life without parole, we are talking about Miller v. Alabama,” Andrews said.  “What I love about this report that we have now, from Professor Garrett and all the other authors, is that it gives us perspective…  What’s interesting to me is that there is a disproportionate impact that this sentence has on race.  Children of color, these are the individuals who get LWOP.  There is a disproportionate impact on children of color.  We also know from the report that once a county imposes JLWOP, it is more likely to impose that sentence again.  It becomes entrenched.”

Andrews said from the perspective of trial attorneys dealing with JLWOP cases, they should pursue school records, interviews with family members, DSS records, and experts in fields such as adolescent brain science to dissuade a judge from sentencing a child to LWOP.

Andrews posed the question that really hit the core of the issue at hand, asking “Do we really want to sentence kids to die in prison?”

After every panelist had the opportunity to speak and before engaging in a question and answer session with members of the audience, Garrett reiterated the issue.  He pointed out that in the study, one-third of the individuals sentenced to LWOP were not the killers or had no intent to kill, but were convicted under a felony murder theory.

In response to one question about the discussions between legislators regarding juvenile justice, Harrison stated, “There are legislators who are considering continued reforms.  I know that many of us felt like Raise the Age… was an important first step and it took us nearly 15 years to really get on that.  It still needs work and I think that there are legislators interested in that and other juvenile justice issues…  There’s a lot going on.  It’s a different climate right now, but it is a little more conducive to making some of these improvements.”

In regards to Raise the Age and the impact he thought this study could potentially have on possible reforms going forward, Garrett said, “To kind of fix that you need to solve this juvenile life without parole problem.  In some ways it’s about the past.  And I think fixing that problem is a money-saver, but also highlights this moral issue that there should be a possibility of redemption, of rehabilitation for all juvenile sentences…  In some ways it’s a completely different question to Raise the Age.  It’s not about adult court versus juvenile court.  It’s just that there should be meaningful review for long juvenile sentences, no matter what the circumstances.  I think that it’s just a sensible position for the State to have.  It’s the right moral position, it follows the science of juvenile brain development, and it’s not inflexible.”

Garrett stated that the JLWOP study was just one of the projects he and his students were working on, including a traffic court study, parole, and non-juvenile life without parole.  He said this just happened to be one of the first they presented publicly.  To read the report and more from Duke Law’s JustScience Lab, please go here.

Request for Proposal Announcement from the Governor’s Crime Commission

The Governor’s Crime Commission is soliciting proposals to conduct an assessment study of specific aspects of disproportionate minority contact within the state’s juvenile justice system.  The award will be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 for a six-month period.  Interested parties can download a copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP) document hereProposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6.

For additional information, please check out the GCC website, or if you have questions, contact Lead Juvenile Justice Planner Carlotta Winstead by email or call 919-733-4564.