Registration is Now Open for the 2019 SJDC Regional Summit

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 programIf 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.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome located at 330 Loyola Ave. at a special group rate of $139/night plus tax.  To book a room at the group rate, contact the hotel at 1-800-238-0227 with group code SNJ, or book directly at Southern National Juvenile Defender Center.  The group rate is available for stays up to 3 days before and 3 days after the Summit.

A major credit card must be provided to guarantee your reservation.  A 24-hour cancellation notice is required to avoid a penalty.  To guarantee the group rate, you must reserve your room by Monday, May 13th.  Free parking is included for up to one car per room.  Parking rates are an additional $30/day for additional vehicles.

Note: There is no charge for registration, but failure to cancel your registration for the SJDC Regional Summit by May 25 will result in a $100.00 fee payable to SJDC.

CLE credits have been applied for.  You will be responsible for paying for your own CLE credits directly to the bar.

The agenda will include sessions on “Efforts and Approaches to Juvenile Detention and Bail Reform”, “Walking In Your Clients Shoes: An Immersive Experience Into The Life of A System Involved Youth”, “Keeping Children Out of Adult Court”, “Ethical Considerations in Alternative Courts” and a JTIP session on “Representing Youth on Probation”.

*No DOJ funds will be used for food or beverage.

SJDC Regional Summit 2019 Save the Date1

OJD Week in Review: Mar. 18 – 22

Hello again and Happy Friday!  This week we’ve got a new training announcement, a job opportunity, the tip of the week, and reminders for previously mentioned opportunities.

Tip of the Week – My Client is in Detention… How Do I Find Them?

There are currently eight detention centers in North Carolina:

  • Alexander Juvenile Detention Center in Taylorsville
  • Cabarrus Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Concord
  • Cumberland Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Fayetteville
  • New Hanover Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Castle Hayne
  • Pitt Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Greenville
  • Wake Juvenile Detention Center in Raleigh
  • Durham County Youth Home in Durham
  • Guilford County Detention Center in Greensboro

Check with your court counselor’s office to find out which location your client is being held, and check here for contact information to visit and call your client.

giphy

Training

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) 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.

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.

TRAINING--DEVELOPMENT

Job and Fellowship Opportunity

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.

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 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.

This is the end of our review 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!

OJD Week in Review: Feb. 4 – 8

Salutations and thank you for joining us again!  This week, in addition to the invaluable Tip of the Week and necessary reminders, we’ve got a new job posting.  Also, please note that many deadlines job applications and event dates are approaching within the next week!

Tip of the Week – Calculations Matter

Make sure you calculate your client’s delinquency history correctly.  It is reversible error if you do not advise your client of the most serious disposition s/he is exposed to (even if everyone agrees to a lower dispositional level).  Feel free to use the disposition chart and prior record scoring sheet available here on our website.

delinquency calculation

From Around the Community

On Monday, 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

National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is currently looking to fill a position for a Principal Court Management Consultant that would be based in one of NCSC’s offices (Denver, CO; Arlington, VA, or HQ in Williamsburg, VA), or possibly teleworking when not traveling.  NCSC is expanding its staff devoted to family and children’s issues and is hoping to get candidates with juvenile justice experience for this position.  To apply and see more details about this position, please check here.  The deadline for applications will be Friday, Feb. 15.

The deadline for electronic offers for the Office of Indigent Defense Services‘ Request for Proposals in Caswell, Person, Alamance, Orange, and Chatham counties will be Friday, Feb. 15.  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.  To access the RFP, please check here.

Training

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.  To apply for this course and find more details, please visit here.  Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance no later than Friday, Feb. 15th.

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.

every-day-is-training-day

That wraps up this week.  There should be more to come next Friday, but in the meantime, check out OJD’s Twitter and Facebook for posts throughout the week.

OJD Week in Review: Jan. 7 – 11

Welcome!  We’re coming into another Friday with fresh tips, job, training, and podcast reminders.  We also have a summary of the first Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee meeting of 2019, which took place earlier this week.

Tip of the Week – No Cookie-Cutter Dispositions!

Remember – disposition MUST be tailored to your specific client (§7B-2500) – don’t be afraid to argue against “cookie cutter” plans.  For example – if your client has no known drug/alcohol history, why should s/he be subject to random drug screens as part of probation?  Ask your client if s/he hunts – depending on the charge your client was adjudicated for, consider requesting the prohibition against weapons be waived if s/he is hunting with a responsible adult.

Job Opportunities

Today is the last day to apply for the Juvenile Law Center‘s Staff Attorney.  The Staff Attorney will work in a highly collegial atmosphere with attorneys, communications, development, and operations staff, and in partnership with colleagues around the state and country.  The work will include litigation, policy advocacy, public education, media advocacy, legal and non-legal writing, training, technical assistance, coordinating state or national reform efforts including organizing and facilitating meetings, and other duties as assigned.  The Staff Attorney will think strategically about opportunities to advocate for child welfare and justice systems that are developmentally appropriate, racially equitable, and supportive of youth, families and communities.  .  To apply, please go here.

On Dec. 1, Indigent Defense Services (IDS) 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, 2019 and renew on June 1, 2019.  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 deadline for applications for the 2019 Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) Summer Academy is Sunday, Jan. 13.  The JTIP Summer Academy is an annual seven-day intensive training program comprised of sessions from the JTIP curriculum, developed by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) in conjunction with experts and practitioners from around the country.  It is intended for attorneys who currently defend youth in juvenile court proceedings.  The Academy is targeted at both new and experienced juvenile defenders.  New defenders will develop the skills they need to zealously represent their clients.  More experienced juvenile defenders will have the opportunity to refine their skills and enhance their effectiveness by employing defense strategies that incorporate the unique aspects of representing youth in delinquency cases.  The program is also designed to build community and equip juvenile defenders with skills they can share with colleagues in their home state.  The JTIP Summer Academy is co-hosted by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Clinic & Initiative.  To apply, please find a PDF version of the application here.

every-day-is-training-day

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.

First JJAC Meeting of 2019

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the N.C. Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice building, the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) held their first meeting for 2019.   During the meeting, Committee members summarized the plans for the interim Juvenile Age Report, discussed funding recommendations, next steps in planning and new business.

The meeting began with a greeting and review of the minutes from the previous meeting from Committee co-chairs the Honorable Garry Frank and Bill D. Davis before Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice William Lassiter began the presentation on the Juvenile Age Report.  Lassiter stated that the future topics in JJAC would include age-appropriate programming in youth development centers and detention centers, hearing presentations from representatives from other states that have implemented Raise the Age legislation, training of stakeholders across the state, business analytics, videoconferencing, and communication planning.  Lassiter mentioned the Committee was currently working on a grant to aid in establishing videoconferencing capabilities statewide.

Lassiter said in multiple stakeholder forums, resources and legislative changes were the biggest concern brought up in each juvenile district.  In addition to the forums, JJAC is also working on establishing new juvenile facility designs, health services, and education, among other things.  There have already been 65 new positions approved for court services to assist with the expected increase in the juvenile justice system and new data collection software is already being utilized.

RTAThe Housing Transfer Subcommittee submitted several recommendations regarding transportation and pretrial custody of juveniles.  It was also pointed out that the recent federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2018 reinforces the Housing Transfer Subcommittees’ recommendation to house all persons less than 18 years of age in an approved Juvenile Justice Section facility when ordered to be held in custody prior to trial or adjudication.  Part of the legislative recommendations from the subcommittees included defining what motor vehicle offenses would be excluded and including a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for gang suppression.

During the discussion on the legislative recommendations, concerns were raised about the legislative directive encouraging school-justice partnerships (SJP), agreements among local stakeholders to divert minor school disciplinary behavior from juvenile court.  Eddie Caldwell spoke on behalf of the Sheriff’s Association, stating the organization supports Raise the Age and believes that the juvenile system has more leverage to work with juveniles than the adult system, providing them with resources and services.  However, the consensus among its members is that SJP only keep kids out of the justice system, preventing them from receiving the services they need.  Caldwell said the greatest concern arises from the vagueness of the language and assumption it can be adopted by all local systems statewide.  Chief District Court Judge Jay Corpening, who piloted one of the first partnerships in New Hanover County, responded that while he appreciated Caldwell’s comments, the program was very successful in his jurisdiction, and that the partnership holds youth accountable by providing effective and appropriate responses without court involvement, and that the result was that schools reported as safer environments.  Members of the Committee invited Caldwell to join them in the SJP subcommittee meeting that followed immediately after the full JJAC meeting to further address concerns with the plan.

AOC Chief Business Officer Brad Fowler discussed AOC funding recommendations, pointing out the need for more district court judges, assistant district attorneys, deputy clerks and legal assistants.  OJD’s request for additional funding for a new assistant juvenile defender was also mentioned and Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry also had a chance to introduce OJD’s new Project Attorney to the Committee.

Director of the Conference of District Attorneys Peg Dorer and Juvenile Resource Prosecutor Rachel Larsen later presented on the funding recommendations for their organization, which included making the Juvenile Resource Prosecutor position permanent to aid in statewide training on juvenile court laws and developing new resources.

At the end of the meeting the Committee voted to accept the changes to the draft of the Juvenile Age report, which only included technical changes, such as grammatical and punctuation, but no substantive changes to the report were made.  Following the adjournment of the full Committee meeting, members broke out into subcommittees to discuss next steps in addressing implementation.

New Resources

Just to bring attention to this once more, we wanted to let everyone know that our latest podcast with forensic psychologist Dr. Cindy Cottle is live!  In this new segment, we talk about Roper v. Simmons, what juvenile defenders should know before contacting an evaluator, the impact that involvement in our current juvenile justice system can have on the mental health of youth, and much more.  You can listen to the podcast here.

facebook

That sums up this week!  Please join us over on Twitter and Facebook for other news and updates throughout the week and we will have more to come soon.

OJD Week in Review: Feb. 19-23

This week we’ve got plenty of important news to share, with updates on Raise the Age, a new podcast, and job and training opportunities.

JJAC Comes Back for Thirds

On February 20, the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) met at the N.C. Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice for its third meeting since its creation.

JJAC

Co-chair Bill D. Davis called the meeting to order, greeting the members of the Committee and others in attendance, before approving the minutes of the previous meeting held in January, and moving onto the new business.

Heather Taraska, Assistant District Attorney of Mecklenberg County, presented the Legislative Revisions and Legal Issues Subcommittee recommendations.  The subcommittee first reported on the mandate in SB257 that the JJAC consider whether certain offenses allegedly committed by 16- and 17-year-olds should be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction once the law goes into effect.  Those offenses can be found under Section 16D.4(rr).  The subcommittee recommended that these offenses not be excluded from juvenile jurisdiction, arguing the impracticality of expecting law enforcement to determine whether juveniles should be charged in the juvenile or criminal system based on certain offenses.  Michelle Hall, Executive Director of the N.C. Sentencing and Advisory Commission, offered statistical data from a five-year period to point out that most felony convictions for certain offenses have actually been accompanied by other charges for juveniles.  The full Committee then voted and approved the subcommittee’s recommendations to include items in Section 16D.4.(rr) (1) through Section 16D.4.(rr)(10) in juvenile jurisdiction and amend the language of this section to read “Any H, I, or misdemeanor offense requiring registration as a sex offender pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.”

Following this vote William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice with the Department of Public Safety, presented on behalf of the Housing of Transfers Subcommittee.  The subcommittee’s recommendations included accommodating any child under the age of 18 exclusively in approved juvenile facilities prior to trial, more resources and training of transportation staff, and establishing a unified video conferencing system to allow communications between juvenile detention, adult detention facilities, and the courts.  There were some concerns voiced from the Committee about privacy between juveniles and their defense counsel in regards to the video conferencing recommendation and preparing juveniles to transition into the adult system if they are held in custody on their 18th birthday.  After suggestions were offered to address some of the issues members had with the recommendations in future discussions, the Committee passed these recommendations.

Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry also brought a recommendation to the Committee to fund an additional assistant juvenile defender position for the Office of the Juvenile Defender.  Zogry explained the position would help with training, delivery of services, and technical support needs upon implementation.  The Committee gave approval for the position.

Lassiter returned to offer the proposal for the final report due on March 1 to the Legislature.  The report is to include the approved recommendations from JJAC, timelines for potential stakeholder forums and community meetings, potential issues projected for the future, and milestones and progress to-date.  Implementation dates and funding requests for various aspects of the Raise the Age plan are also to be included.

Finally, Brad D. Fowler, Research, Policy, and Planning Officer of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), and Judge Marion R. Warren, Director of AOC, presented AOC’s requests for funding, which included additional judgeships, assistant district attorneys, district attorney legal assistants, and deputy clerks for several different districts.  With a request to amend the language to the recommendations clarifying the methodology for determining the needs and acknowledging more resources may be needed after implementation, the Committee approved this as well.

The Committee adjourned the meeting and confirmed its next meeting for May 22.

 

Job/Fellowship Opportunities

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 now 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 be hosting two informational webinars, one on Mar. 8 and another on Apr. 2.  To register for one of these webinars, please visit here.  Applications for the Institute (found here) must be submitted by Apr. 23.

Heard About the New Juvenile Defender Manual?

David Andrews Profile Picture - SmallWe’ve updated our SoundCloud page with a new podcast!  In this segment, OJD Communications and Office Manager Marcus Thompson sits down for a Q&A with Assistant Appellate Defender David Andrews to discuss Andrews’ work on the updated juvenile defender manual.  Andrews not only talks about his experience co-writing the manual with Professor John Rubin, but also shares thoughts on Gault, Raise the Age, and some other important cases.  You can listen to the new podcast here, and as usual, we’d like to thank our friends at the Administrative Office of the Courts who have graciously assisted us with these recordings.

Events Around the Community

The North Carolina Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section will be holding a council meeting on March 22, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.  A networking reception will be held directly after the meeting at Whiskey Kitchen on 201 W. Martin St. and appetizers and a cash bar will be provided.  All section members and attorneys who could be members are welcome to attend and may RSVP here.

Training Reminders & Webinars

The National Institute of Justice will be hosting a webinar titled “Using Brief Interventions to Prevent Teen Dating Violence” on Feb. 26, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EST).  The webinar will feature several researchers, policy advocates, and practitioners discussing methods to reduce teen dating violence in high-risk populations.  You can register for the webinar here.

Clean Slate Clearinghouse will be hosting a webinar on Feb. 28 titled “Juvenile Record Clearance — 2017 Legislative Reforms”  This webinar will focus on various state reforms to juvenile record clearance laws and will feature multiple state advocates.  To register for this webinar, please visit here.
yoda training

Registration is open for Higher-Level Felony Defense, Part I.  This training will take place April 9-10 and will offer 9.0 CLE credit hours.  Topics will include working with investigators and experts, building rapport with clients, investigation and discovery, the theory of defense, and third-party records.  Space is limited for only 36 participants, so please hurry if you are interested in participating!  Members of public defender offices should get approval from the Chief Public Defender to register and contractors and privately assigned counsel must receive a fellowship from IDS Director Tom Maher.  For more information on registration, the agenda, and hotel information please visit here.

The 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.

New Resource

This week we’ve added a new document from the Department of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice to our Raise the Age page, located under the “Information for Defenders” tab. This presentation from Deputy Secretary William Lassiter presents points on the history, the implementation plan, and the vision for what Raise the Age will do for N.C.  This document also offers suggestions to reduce recidivism, youth psychological development research, and other data.

That’s all there is to share this week.  Please be sure to check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you would like to discuss something in the juvenile defense realm either through our podcast or on our blog.  We will be sharing more news you can use and other information here every week so be sure to check back again often!

 

From a Non-Lawyer Perspective: 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference Review by Marcus Thompson

On Friday, Aug. 11, juvenile defenders from across N.C. united at the U.N.C. School of Government for the 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference — and I had the honor of being among the 50+ attendees!  Only approaching my first full year as a part of the Juvenile Defender family, I was pretty excited to be able to attend this annual conference and observe juvenile defenders from various districts interact and share ideas and experiences from their time in juvenile court.  In my short time with the Office of the Juvenile Defender, I have  had the opportunity to learn about case law, the “lawyer lingo”, and other things, but this training was a great experience to not only refresh my memory of materials I’ve encountered before, but to also gain further insight into the juvenile justice system.

Program Attorney Austine Long started the event, welcoming everyone and encouraging defenders to offer suggestions for future training courses before introducing Martin Moore, assistant public defender of Buncombe County.

Moore discussed detention hearings, going over the types and culture of detention, secure custody and strategies for preparing for hearings.  Moore acknowledged that some areas of the state do not always follow their own guidelines for detention hearings.  “No one is in a better position to help the juvenile than themselves,” Moore said, emphasizing to attendees the importance of listening to the client and knowing as much as possible about their history, mental health state, and relationships when preparing for hearings.  When he posed a question to the audience about juveniles being placed in adult facilities for pre-adjudication secure custody (which violates G.S. 7B-1905), some defenders stated that this is often a result of juveniles having lied about their age, which initially surprised me.  I would have assumed in some cases it may have been the error of the police.  One participant also stated that juvenile defenders should ensure that juveniles’ info is redacted if they are placed in an adult facility for any reason.  On the topic of shackling during secure custody hearings, Moore also stated that it was “generally something we should argue against” and others concurred, pointing out the most effective argument with judges was that shackling a child would require more paperwork.  Towards the end of his presentation, Moore gave attendees a couple of hypothetical scenarios and allowed them to role play to demonstrate how they argue on behalf of a client in a detention hearing.

Following Moore, Mary Stansell, assistant public defender of Wake County, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes presented on motions to suppress.  The pair addressed In re Gault, what qualifies as custodial interrogation, children’s understanding of their rights, and violations of 4th amendment rights.  Stansell and Howes stressed that a statement can’t be used against a child in custody unless a parent is there, but children believe that the “right to remain silent” means “until a cop asks a question”, most likely due to being naturally submissive to adults and intimidated by authority figures.  The cases of Saldierna and J.D.B. were also addressed while discussing juveniles’ voluntary waiver of rights.  Identification of juveniles in court and search and seizure were also brought up before attendees were broken out into groups to work on a case study.

After lunch was provided, Terri Johnson, an attorney from Statesville, took the lead to discuss capacity, covering statutes, cases, and how to handle evaluations and issues.  Johnson emphasized looking for indicators of capacity such as age, nature and location of the offense, language barriers and a history of social, mental, or physical health issues.  She also talked about finding experts to evaluate a client’s capacity to proceed in court and common arguments made by assistant district attorneys and juvenile court counselors.  One common argument was that juveniles were manipulative and would lie simply to avoid getting into trouble.  Johnson also said that sometimes judges will commit juveniles due to lack of options or because they believe that just putting juveniles on probation will get them the mental health treatment that they need.  Having no interactions with the legal system in my teenage years beyond a couple of traffic violations, it was kind of disheartening to hear that this was the way people, especially kids with various problems, were perceived and treated in the courts.

Once Johnson finished her segment, LaToya Powell, assistant professor of public law and government for the U.N.C. School of Government, arrived to discuss updates to juvenile law in the past year.   I was very familiar with all of the cases that Powell discussed, having read her opinions and writing case summaries for our office, but the review of these cases was welcomed.  Powell succinctly summarized many of the most impactful cases, including Saldierna, T.K.D.E.P.  and the recent Raise the Age legislation.  While addressing Saldierna, Powell stated that a juvenile cannot waive the right to have a parent or attorney present during questioning due to special protections provided under General Statute 7B-2101.  After reviewing the whole series of decisions from SaldiernaPowell also noted that as of Aug. 3rd, the State had filed a motion for temporary stay on the case.  Once she summarized some of the other recent appellate court decisions, Powell went on to discuss the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, pointing out the benefits to everyone involved in the juvenile justice system, but also addressing some potential issues with the new laws, such as conflicting terms in the new gang suppression section with current criminal gang suppression rules.

Finally, James Drennan, adjunct and former Albert Coates professor for the U.N.C. School of Government, took the podium to lead the ethics portion of the training.  This part of the training was more like the psychology/philosophy class I wish I had during my college years and was applicable not only to juvenile defense, but all professions.  Drennan discussed implicit biases, which he said exists “in all of us.  No one is immune to it.”

“There is an elemental, primal need to feel like you are being treated fairly,” Drennan said after showing a video of two monkeys being rewarded, one with grapes and the other with cucumbers (resulting in its frustration) for performing the same task.  He shared statistics and reports that showed fairness is what is most desired in our court system by people, but more people from various backgrounds perceive the justice system as unfair to minorities.

Drennan also engaged attendees in several exercises to test their perception, demonstrating our fast-thinking and slow-thinking processes and how our intuitive feelings and programming from a young age affects our judgment.   Drennan spoke about how his own southern upbringing taught him to accept racial disparities as a norm and certain behaviors were maligned by the society he grew up in, and despite his life experiences, these ideas instilled in him from his youth still linger, unable to be unlearned.  He also said that controlling our fast-thinking processes when interacting with new groups or individuals and observing the patterns in our decision-making processes are important to help us to avoid our own prejudices.

Every presentation was engaging and surprisingly easy to follow, even for someone like myself, without a background in law.  While I’ve only observed a few juvenile court cases, it was good to know how other defenders prepare to present their juveniles’ cases and what must be considered prior to going in front of the judge.  It also provided clarity for me about the challenges from all sides that juvenile defenders must deal with inside and outside the courtroom.  It was also great being able to put more faces to the names I’ve seen in the past few months.  After this first year, I look forward to the 2018 Juvenile Defender Conference, and I hope to hear from and see more of the front line defenders.

If you missed the conference or would just like to review the presentations, you can find a copy of the course materials with additional references here.

#RaisetheAgeNC is Becoming a Reality with Introduction of New Bill

Since 2007, seven states have changed their laws to include youth 16 and 17 years of age in the juvenile justice system, cutting the number of youth in the criminal justice system in half nationwide and without any detrimental effects on the wallets of taxpayers.  North Carolina and New York still remain the only two states that treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

Image result for raise the age map

Today, House Bill 280, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, which raises the age to include juveniles 16 and 17 years of age in the North Carolina juvenile justice system, was introduced to the legislator and announced during a press conference.  Representative Chuck McGrady stated that “besides being the right thing to do, this bill was also fiscally the right thing to do” because it would save the state money in the long term.

“They did what they did, and parents would come to court and plead their children guilty every day because it was the right thing to do to take responsibility for their actions, and they have no inclination because they have no training and they assume that juvenile jurisdiction ends at 18, but they have no idea that they are putting a permanent mark that is an economic disincentive to the youth of our state,” said Judge Marion Warren, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts and a former district court judge who presided over hundreds of juvenile cases.  Judge Warren shared the statistic that 96.7 percent of crimes committed by 16- and 17-year-old offenders were for misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes. “This process brought the people together to see exactly what it was doing to our state.  North Carolina cannot be last…  North Carolina always finds itself as a leader on the position for self-improvement, introspection, and thought.  Now is the time to raise the juvenile age.  It is time to support House Bill 280.”

Representative Duane Hall, who noted his support of the issue the past decade, said that the bill had tremendous bipartisan support.  Representative Hall said that before he was a member of the Legislature, he worked as an attorney representing children for small, first-time offenses.  He stated that he had teenagers who came to him in tears because they would not have the opportunity to pursue their desired careers in military or obtain financial aid because of the permanent consequences that followed them for the smallest offenses.

Representative Kelly Alexander said that he and his colleagues of the Legislative Black Caucus on both the Senate and House sides have had an interest in juvenile justice for a long time and they supported the change 100 percent.

William Lassiter, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Juvenile Justice, said that the cost savings estimated for N.C. as a result of the bill could be in the range of $7 million to $50 million, depending on the economic contribution of each juvenile that would be effected in the justice system based on their ability to obtain a diploma, college degree, and be taxpaying citizens.  He said that just by keeping kids in the juvenile justice system there are lower rates of recidivism, which is the major factor in cost reduction for the state.  He mentioned that for nine years in a row now there has been a 30 percent decline in juvenile crime rates.  There has been a reduction in 16 and 17 year olds on probation from about 8,000 to less than 2,000 in the past decade under adult supervision because of improvements in the juvenile justice system every day.

When asked what improvements in the bill gained the support of law enforcement, Judge Warren said that he believed that the two most significant changes were the ability to transfer A-E felonies to criminal court, which would be more to the benefit of the community than to the juvenile, and a prepetition diversion, which allowed other stakeholders to get involved in putting a child on the right path.

According to the latest report from the Justice Policy Institute released on March 7th, despite concerns that the intake of these youth into the juvenile justice system would ultimately overwhelm the states that raised the age and significantly increase the costs to taxpayers, it was proven that by applying better practices these issues could be easily alleviated.  Programs to assist youth in getting past delinquency and reducing recidivism for them in turn reduced the need for confinement and increased public safety.  Fewer prisons are needed as a result of youth being taken out of the criminal justice system and juveniles are also safer when they are not being incarcerated with adults, which would put them at risk of being sexually assaulted.

In the past decade, North Carolina has halved the number of youth admitted to detention centers.  The North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice Committee on Criminal Investigation and Adjudication reported that, because the Division of Juvenile Justice has shifted to more effective youth justice practices, they have already produced millions of dollars in cost savings to help implement raise the age.

Contact OJD for more information about H280 and juvenile jurisdiction.