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!


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.



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.

JWISE Attorney Access

What is JWise Attorney Access?

As mandated in the Raise the Age legislation, as of July 1st, juvenile defenders now have access to the juvenile delinquency index known as JWise!  For those not familiar, JWise is the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) database where clerks enter court-related information about juvenile cases.  Most of the information is case status, such as adjudications, dispositions, and other hearings.  While JWise includes data from Abuse, Neglect and Dependency proceeds, attorneys will only have access to juvenile delinquency cases where they have a client with an open case.  This access is read-only.  Note also that the clerk’s file, not JWise, is the official record of the court.

How Will the Access Improve My Practice?

JWise will allow attorneys quick access to basic, essential information about the status of their clients’ cases.  While attorneys should still be reviewing the clerk’s file for more detail about their clients, JWise may offer quick answers to questions regarding court hearings.  In addition, attorneys will be able to see information about a client’s case in another jurisdiction if it’s transferred.  Note that not all counties will have the same data, as some fields are mandatory and some are not.

How Do I Get Access to JWise?

All staff of the public defender offices and privately assigned counsel with a bar number will have access to this tool, but access must first be requested through AOC using the form provided here.  Once the form is filled out, it must be faxed to AOC (not the clerk’s office) for activation.  Once access is granted, both privately assigned counsel and public defenders may log into JWise using the link here.  Public defenders also have the option to access the database via Juno.

What If I Need Assistance?

For attorneys who may be unfamiliar with JWise, AOC has created a 15-minute video walkthrough to better explain how to use and access it, which can be viewed here.   If you encounter any technical issues with the system, please contact the AOC Help Desk at 919-890-2407.  If there are any substantive questions, attorneys should feel free to contact the Office of the Juvenile Defender.