OJD Week in Review: Mar. 4 – 8

Welcome back!  This week we’re bringing attention to an update on our “Materials” page, a new tip, a fellowship opportunity, and training announcements.

Tip of the Week – Was Your Client’s Parent Present?

Any juvenile under the age of 16 must have a parent present for any in-custody interview. Any statement made without the parent’s presence is not admissible into evidence (§7B-2101(b)). Remember – “in-custody” is an objective test and uses the “reasonable juvenile” standard!

New Resource

We have updated our case summaries list, including new cases such as In re E.M. and In re B.B. and removing the broken links for all cases that took place prior to 2006.  Please feel free to download and review these cases as needed here.  If you find any issue with the document or its links, please contact our office.

Fellowship Opportunity

ChristyYJLIThe 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.

Training

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.

On March 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., the UNC School of Government (SOG) will be hosting the first North Carolina Criminal Justice Summit in the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Club.  The Summit will be lead by SOG’s own Professor of Public Law and Government Jessica Smith and will feature national and state experts with broad-ranging ideological perspectives who will discuss key issues capturing attention in North Carolina and around the nation, including bail reform, overcriminalization, and barriers to re-entry, such as fines and fees, the criminal record, and collateral consequences.  Join the conversation as they explore how these issues impact justice, public safety and economic prosperity in North Carolina, and whether there is common ground to address them.  This event will be free to attend, lunch will be provided, and it offers 5 hours of CJE and free CLE credit.  Attendees are responsible for their travel expenses, including a $14 event parking fee.  For those arriving the night before, state rate and discounted rooms at local hotels will be available.  For more details, please visit here.

Call to Action!

juvdelcriminallaw

North Carolina is in need of dedicated defenders today!  With the expected increase of juvenile defense cases following the full implementation of Raise the Age, North Carolina’s juvenile defender community will be in need of quality juvenile defense attorneys.  We want to encourage attorneys with a passion for protecting our most vulnerable populations, whether you possess decades of experience or you’ve been practicing for just over five years, to consider specializing now.  We also want attorneys fresh out of law school and those currently in law school to plan to take the specialization exam later in their career.  For details on specializing in North Carolina, please check out the link here (links also available on the sidebar).  Applications for the specialization exam with the N.C. State Bar should be open between May and July this year.  For additional resources and information about specializing, please check out the National Juvenile Defender Center’s page here.

That will be all for now, folks!  Please check us out on OJD’s Twitter and Facebook for posts throughout the week.

OJD Week in Review: Feb. 25 – Mar. 1

Happy First Friday!  This week in addition to our new tip and training reminders, we want to bring attention to a blog post about Raise the Age from the School of Government and a new addition to our sidebar here on the website (if you haven’t already noticed!).

Also, for those juvenile defense attorneys who are currently not on our listserv, please contact Marcus Thompson so that you can be added and get all of the latest updates on our resources, upcoming training, and more!

Tip of the Week – Why Separate Probable Cause and Adjudicatory Hearings?

A probable cause hearing determines whether there is probable cause to believe that the offense charged has been committed, and that the juvenile charged committed it.  But what if the court finds probable cause for a lesser offense?  The court must hold a separate adjudicatory hearing.  Why?  Probable cause hearings and adjudicatory hearings have separate burdens of proof, are governed by different rules of evidence, and result in different legal outcomes.  Note that this rule also applies to transfer hearings when the court decides not to transfer a juvenile to superior court.

Call to Action!

juvdelcriminallaw

North Carolina is in need of dedicated defenders today!  With the expected increase of juvenile defense cases following the full implementation of Raise the Age, North Carolina’s juvenile defender community will be in need of quality juvenile defense attorneys.  We want to encourage attorneys with a passion for protecting our most vulnerable populations, whether you possess decades of experience or you’ve been practicing for just over five years, to consider specializing now.  We also want attorneys fresh out of law school and those currently in law school to plan to take the specialization exam later in their career.  For details on specializing in North Carolina, please check out the link here (links also available on the sidebar).  Applications for the specialization exam with the N.C. State Bar should be open between May and July this year.  For additional resources and information about specializing, please check out the National Juvenile Defender Center’s page here.

From Around the Community

From the “On the Civil Side” blog, Jacqui Greene has published a new post regarding Raise the Age.  In this blog, Greene breaks down the recommendations from the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee’s latest report.  Please take a moment to read her post here.

RTA

Training

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.

On March 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., the UNC School of Government (SOG) will be hosting the first North Carolina Criminal Justice Summit in the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Club.  The Summit will be lead by SOG’s own Professor of Public Law and Government Jessica Smith and will feature national and state experts with broad-ranging ideological perspectives who will discuss key issues capturing attention in North Carolina and around the nation, including bail reform, overcriminalization, and barriers to re-entry, such as fines and fees, the criminal record, and collateral consequences.  Join the conversation as they explore how these issues impact justice, public safety and economic prosperity in North Carolina, and whether there is common ground to address them.  This event will be free to attend, lunch will be provided, and it offers 5 hours of CJE and free CLE credit.  Attendees are responsible for their travel expenses, including a $14 event parking fee.  For those arriving the night before, state rate and discounted rooms at local hotels will be available.  For more details, please visit here.

This concludes the news for the final week of February.  Please check us out on OJD’s Twitter and Facebook for posts throughout the week.

Registration is Open for Higher-Level Felony Defense Training

We are pleased to announce a new course offering from the School of Government, Higher-Level Felony Defense, Part 1. As the name implies, the purpose of the course is to prepare attorneys to handle more serious felony cases at the trial level. The course will take place over two sessions, with the first part taking place April 9-10 at the School of Government. The first session will offer 9 hours of CLE credit including 1 hour of ethics credit. Part II will take place in late summer or early fall of this year. (Part I is not a prerequisite to Part II, although we hope that attending both will be helpful.)

The course description and agenda for part I of the course can be viewed here. The Office of Indigent Defense Services has agreed to fund registration for all participants, including contract attorneys and private assigned counsel (although they remain responsible for the cost of their own travel, lodging, and meals other than those provided during the training).

Due to the expected level of interest, the intensive nature of the training, and limits on seating capacity, the program will be capped at 36 total participants. You must take the following steps BEFORE you can register.

  • If you are in a public defender’s office, you must obtain the approval of your Chief Public Defender to register. Because of limited space, each office is allotted one slot.
  • If you are a contract attorney or private assigned counsel, you must apply to receive a fellowship to attend. It’s short, we promise. Interested applicants should submit a paragraph to IDS Director Tom Maher, K.Maher@nccourts.org, describing how the training would help them in handling higher level felony cases, the number of jury trials they’ve tried, the most serious level of felony that they have experience handling, the percentage of their work that involves indigent criminal defense, and the county or counties in which they handle indigent defense cases. The deadline for applying for a fellowship is Monday, March 5 at 5:00pm. However, don’t wait until then! Decisions will be made on a rolling basis, and the available spaces may fill quickly.

Once you are approved by your Chief Public Defender or offered a fellowship, visit the course page at https://www.sog.unc.edu/courses/higher-level-felony-defense-part-i#!#register to register.

Please contact Toogie Hampton, Program Manager, at thampton@sog.unc.edu or 919.843.6518 or Phil Dixon, Defender Educator at dixon@sog.unc.edu or 919.966.4248.

OJD Week In Review: Jan. 29-Feb. 2

This week we’ve been promoting some great new resources and opportunities, and continuing our momentum from the past few days, we just want to rehash a few things and introduce some other good nuggets for you all:

NCCRED Wants YOU

NCCREDThe North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities (NCCRED) has opened applications for a new executive director.  The organization seeks an executive director  who can provide organizational leadership, racial equity coalition building, and can manage its commission committees and initiatives.  Top candidates will have a passion for racial justice and criminal justice reform, excellent communication skills, the ability to manage a wide variety of organizational priorities, comfort with conflict and engaging in robust dialogue with people of differing views and experience in criminal justice reform.  Applications will be accepted until Feb. 15.  Please find the details about the position and how to apply here.

New Resources

The North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) is excited to announce a new resource for counsel representing appointed clients.  As you know, the Supreme Court held in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), that the effective assistance of counsel may require counsel to provide advice about the potential immigration consequences of the possible resolutions of the case.  In order to assist counsel in meeting the requirement of Padilla, IDS has contracted with two experienced immigration attorneys who will provide immigration consultations for counsel representing appointed clients.  An Immigration Consequences page has been added to IDS’ website, where you will find an explanation of the process, a link to an on-line form that you can use to request immigration advice, and a printable version of the form that you can use when interviewing your client or otherwise gathering the required information.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) has recently launched a Teen Dating Violence feature on its website.  This page offers links to the National Dating Abuse Helpline along with various publications and other resources to help victims and others involved with people who need aid or just want to be educated on the issue.   Their pages also provide further links to information on domestic violence, sexual assault, and “special populations”, including juveniles.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has also released an updated review on “Interactions Between Youth and Law Enforcement“.  This document compiles research from various organizations, analyzing youth-initiated and police-initiated interactions, the impacts of such interactions on the juvenile justice system, police training programs, diversion programs and more.  The full review can be found here.

Training Opportunities

Registration is still open for the “Advocating for Youth Charged with First Degree Murder” training until Feb. 15.  We want to make sure that everyone, especially those in the juvenile defense community, have a chance to take advantage of this valuable training.  Please be sure to check it out here and we will continue to offer light reminders in the coming weeks.

i-love-training-trainings-my-favoriteThe Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) is 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.  Applications will be accepted until March 2.

 

That will be all for this week.   There is plenty more to come in the next few weeks, so check back here early and often.  Also, if there is anything anyone in the N.C. juvenile defense community would like to submit to us to promote on our website and other channels, be sure to contact us and let us know.  We are always here to support you!

“The Improper Use of Electronic Monitors in Juvenile Court” by Guest Blogger Mitchell Feld

Mitch

You meet your new client for the first time for the first detention hearing as the child was detained on a low-level felony or misdemeanor.  The recommendation is for the child to be released on an electronic monitor.  Your client hears that and says that he/she is willing to get out of detention on an “ankle bracelet.”  The short-term victory is your client is happy because he/she got released and you look like the great lawyer who walked into court and got your client released.  However, did you truly do a service to your client and other children in juvenile court?

We have all been in the situation described above and accept the offered release conditions because it satisfies the wishes of your client.  However, how often do we ask if electronic monitoring is appropriate while still arguing for our client’s expressed interest to be released?  Electronic monitoring is a common release condition for adult court and by accepting it as a release condition for children in juvenile court in all situations mares the difference between juvenile and adult court.  What is amazing about the utilization of electronic monitoring in juvenile court is when it is used when it is not necessary and when it is not used when it is necessary.  There are a few situations that truly highlight these two types of scenarios and the rationale behind its appropriateness or lack thereof.

My office has had numerous children who are detained on misdemeanors or low-level felonies, they comply with curfew and rules put in place by the parent/guardian, they attend school daily, and they have a social history that is absent any red flags.  Court counselors frequently ask for a child to be released on electronic monitoring due to the serious nature of a child having a felony charge.  While one can appreciate that a felony is a serious offense, we must inquire about the virtue of an electronic monitor and whether this child is truly a danger to property or persons as is one of the criteria under N.C.G.S 7B-1903(b)(1).  Merely being charged with a felony does not mean a child is a danger to property or persons and making an argument against continued detention or release on electronic monitoring is a necessary argument.  Children that are charged with possession of drugs that rise to a low-level felony, possession of stolen goods merely because the child was given property from a B&E, or assault-based offenses are not necessarily appropriate for a monitor due to the lack of correlation between the charge and the need for 24/7 supervision.  Possession of a drug or property, while serious and concerning, does not mean that the person needs to be supervised at all times without other factors present.  If someone is charged with assault (either physical or sexual), an electronic monitor serves no purpose to prevent a future attack.  All a monitor would do in an assault situation is provide confirmation that a person was present should another attack occur, but would not actually prevent an attack.  While these situations can be concerning to a victim, judge, or prosecutor, we still need to balance the purpose of a monitor with the juvenile court-to-prison pipeline that is created by imposing adult court conditions on children.

While those situations are ones that are self-explanatory for when a monitor is not necessary, there are also situations when a monitor is refused when it can be appropriate for a child to be released.  My favorite situation that arises in court is when a court counselor said that child was denied for electronic monitoring because he/she has an AWOL history.  At that point I want to turn to the court counselor and do my best Biff impression from Back to the Future and say, “Hello, McFly!  Think, McFly, think!”  I have made the argument to judges that if a monitor is only used for children who comply with a curfew and we know where they are at all times, then what is the purpose of the monitor?  If children have a history of going AWOL, not following a curfew, or leaving school without permission, then a monitor can serve a purpose to ensure the child thinks twice before making that negative decision knowing big brother is watching at all times.  No one wants to see a child with an electronic device strapped to his/her ankle at all times, but if it serves as a behavior modification technique, causes the child to think twice about a decision, and stops the prior behaviors that led them to juvenile court, then the use of the device is appropriate.

There is also the situation when court stakeholders believe that because your client committed one breaking and entering, he/she committed all of them.  I have had numerous clients that, to their credit and honesty, will gladly tell you which crimes they committed and which ones they did not.  The monitor has been useful to show a judge and prosecutor that just because there was enough evidence for one case, does not justify bringing charges for another because the child’s monitor did not show his/her presence at the scene of another crime.  As stated above, I do not like to see a child on a monitor but there are times when its presence can be utilized to demonstrate your client’s innocence.

While juvenile court has been around for a number of years, in light of where it has come in the past 50 years since In re Gault, there are still a number of practices that are not juvenile court practices, but rather applied adult court practices.  While it is easy to accept those practices as that may be all we have, we must be diligent to challenge their utilization and appropriateness when they are not right for children.  When you believe you have nothing else to argue, it is easy to go back to N.C.G.S. 7B-1500 and argue that rehabilitation and constitutional rights for children are always at the heart of what juvenile court is about.  Children may be focused on the short-term win, but we need to be thinking about the long-term effects.  The arguments we make today will become best practices in the years to come.

Mitchell Feld is the Director of Children’s Defense at the Council for Children’s Rights representing children in delinquency and mental health commitment matters.  Mr. Feld obtained his undergraduate degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania in 2005 and his J.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 2008.  Mr. Feld is a member of the North Carolina Bar and the Western District of North Carolina.  He has served as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Juvenile Law Section of the Mecklenburg County Bar and currently serves on the Mecklenburg County Bar Grievance Committee.  Mr. Feld has lectured at the local, state, and national level on juvenile case law, interviewing children, sex offenses and registration, motions practice, and delinquency advocacy.