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.

OJD Week in Review: Jan. 29 – Feb. 1

Happy first Friday and welcome to February!  Of course, this week there is a new tip, but we’ve also got another JJAC report, a new resource, and some new training announcements to share.

welcome

Tip of the Week – When Should I Receive the Disposition Report?

You should try to receive the disposition report prior to the dispositional hearing to review with your client.  If possible, try to get a copy of the report at least several days prior to the hearing.  While there is no statutory authority compelling the receipt from the intake counselor, there are local rules which suggest time periods.

JJAC Updates

The Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) has released its 2017 Annual Report.  This report features accomplishments of JJAC, data on the JCPC services, juvenile court services, juvenile facility populations,  education and clinical services, and more.  You can read the full report 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 February 15th.

wvpviw

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.

New Resource

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is delighted to share the updated 2018-2019 version of their Juvenile Defense Policy and Practice Career Resource Guide, which is intended to help law students prepare for a career in juvenile defense or juvenile justice policy reform.  Many law students, even those who are interested in criminal law, are not aware that juvenile defense, as a specialized practice, is a viable career option, and one that draws on many of the same motivations and skills as criminal defense.  Those students who are aware of juvenile defense have told NJDC they find it difficult to prepare for the job search in this field.  To that end, NDJC created this Career Resource Guide, which they hope will raise the profile of and help students prepare for a career in juvenile defense or juvenile justice policy reform.  The Guide includes information on coursework and externships that will help strengthen a candidate’s application in the juvenile defense field; resources to guide in the search for juvenile defense jobs, fellowships, and funding opportunities; and a list of offices around the country that provide employment and internship opportunities specific to juvenile defense.

From Around the Community

On 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

On Dec. 1, Indigent Defense Services 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 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.  The deadline for electronic offers is Feb. 15.  To access the RFP, please check here.

This is it for 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: Aug. 27 – 31

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  The news is actually getting slower at the moment but here is something  the juvenile defender community may be interested in…

Raise the Age

On Friday, Aug. 24, the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee met and the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice offered new updates on the implementation plan for Raise the Age.  If you are interested in what was discussed, please check out the material here.

RTA

Training

On Nov. 16, the UNC School of Government will be hosting a Back to School CLE from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The training offers 6.25 hours of CLE credit, including an hour of ethics and an optional hour of substance abuse credit.  Topics will include civil and criminal case law and legislative updates, the opioid epidemic, and a review and preview of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Registration will be $300.  Lunch will be provided.  To register please visit the UNC SOG site here.

That is it…  Have a safe and exciting Labor Day weekend!

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!

 

2017 Year in Review

Another year gone, some great milestones achieved, and the Office of the Juvenile Defender (OJD) would like to highlight a few of those accomplishments from 2017:

Legislation

This was a monumental year for juvenile justice legislation as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of In re Gault and the passage of Raise the Age in N.C.

Raise the Age: In regards to raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction, OJD met with advocates and stakeholders to develop strategies for bill passage and worked with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Legal Counsel to draft, edit, and respond to amendments to the legislation.  OJD responded to legislators and staff with questions about the legislation and we have developed a three-part plan to address the needs of defender services to absorb the increased number of cases.

Gault:  The Supreme Court’s decision in Gault granted due process rights to children, which essentially created the occupation of juvenile defenders, and due to the new legislation passed in our state, North Carolina will not be the last state to automatically treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.  OJD collaborated with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and AOC to commemorate the fifty years since the Gault decision.

GAULTat50_TwitterTownHall_1

As part of our campaign to raise awareness about Gault, OJD worked with NJDC to create a webpage specifically for events in N.C. related to the celebration and to bring attention to N.C.’s commitment to fulfilling the promise of Gault.  On our own website and the UNC School of Government’s blog, in collaboration with LaToya Powell, OJD co-wrote a series of blogs on the legal impact of Gault on North Carolina law.  We also attempted to rally juvenile justice advocates to petition Google to create a Gault-inspired Doodle for May 15, the official anniversary of the decades-old decision, and encouraged other community leaders to solicit the media with op-eds and offer presentations of their own, such as the Council for Children’s Rights.  We also worked with the Governor’s Office to create a gubernatorial proclamation.  On the day of the anniversary, we launched our first Twitter Town Hall event with the hashtag #Gault50NC and we attended a gala in honor of the occasion hosted by NJDC in Washington, D.C.

With the assistance of AOC, we also created a video discussing the impact of Gault and the need for Raise the Age legislation in N.C.

Contracts & Trainings

Contracts:  There were no new contracts established in 2017, however with the passage of Raise the Age, OJD plans to evaluate current contracts and observe court in all districts to determine where new contracts will be needed once the law is fully implemented.  Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes has also met with contractors in different districts to address issues, brainstorm, etc.

Trainings: This year, OJD was proud to have held several successful trainings in various districts including Districts 7, 19, 8, and 1.  We had the pleasure of collaborating with the N.C. Advocates for Justice, UNC School of Government, and others once again to bring together new and veteran juvenile defenders in different lectures and interactive training activities across the state.

Direct Representation

OJD continues to provide direct representation of juvenile clients.  This has allowed our Office to observe and respond to trends in juvenile court as well as continue to have a presence in the courtroom.  OJD has represented juveniles in cases transferred from other districts and been able to identify issues for appeal and base trainings on issues that have arisen in multiple cases in various districts such as proper amendments to charges on petitions and improper dispositional levels.  Collaboration with defenders in other jurisdictions when we have juvenile clients in common has resulted in better outcomes for juveniles with petitions in multiple districts.

Outreach

This year we’ve tried to bring new life to the OJD website, encouraging more guest blogs, getting our own domain, and exploring new avenues to engage the juvenile defender community through social media.  Since last year, OJD has seen the subscriptions on our blog more than double from the 190 we initially had prior to Marcus Thompson coming on board in our new communications and office manager position.  We have also had significant growth in our audience on social media, which has been very useful in raising awareness of what our office and the North Carolina juvenile defense community aspires to do and has accomplished.  With assistance from the media team at AOC, OJD has developed a podcast, which we hope to continue to produce in order to keep all stakeholders informed.  An OJD Facebook page has also been created in order to keep stakeholders engaged and facilitate conversation about current events related to juvenile defense around the country.

New Initiatives

With the implementation of Raise the Age underway, OJD has developed a three-part plan to address the needs of defenders to absorb the increased number of cases.  This includes (1) developing statewide and local conferences, trainings, and presentations to keep defenders informed, (2) proposing a system of dedicated defenders through contracting with local defenders, and (3) consulting with public defender offices and contractors to determine the impact of potential increase in caseload.  Our office has also created a page on the OJD website with resources specifically related to Raise the Age, including summaries of the legislation and a compilation of articles, and we will update this page as more materials become available.  Additionally, OJD has been appointed to or assisted committees in response to the new legislation including the Governor’s Crime Commission, AOC JWise Attorney Access workgroup, and the new Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee created by the new law.

OJD Week in Review: Jan. 8-12

This week we are lighter on the usual training notifications, but there are some important updates to be shared.

Training, Job Opportunities, and Events

wvpviwDue to the winter weather and the holidays, the UNC School of Government has announced that the deadline to register for the 2018 Child Support Enforcement:  Representing Respondents seminar has now been extended until Jan. 15.  Registration and other information can be found here.

Registration is also now open for the School of Government’s Regional Training for Indigent Defense: Defending Sexual Offenses.  This event will offer 3.0 CLE credit hours and will have sessions covering cross-examining experts, physical evidence, and motions and legal issues in sexual offense cases.  The training will be held on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Room 103 of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center at 1801 Nash St. in Sanford, N.C.  The deadline to register is 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29.  An $85 registration fee will be required which will cover materials, snacks, and CLE credits.  For registration, contact details and other info, please go here.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will be supporting National Drug and Alcohol Facts week, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  From Jan. 22-28, these organizations will be supporting community events nationwide and beyond that bring people together, from adolescents to experts, to discuss alcohol and drug abuse.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse will be providing free booklets about how to deal with drug abuse, in addition to other educational resources.

OJJDP will also be accepting nominations for their 2018 National Missing Children’s Day awards until Jan. 24.  They are seeking nominees for their Missing Children’s Citizen Award and Missing Children’s Child Protection Award.  These awards are meant to recognize private individuals who helped to recover a missing/abducted child and professionals, such as law enforcement officers and child protective service agents, who have worked to protect children from abuse and victimization.  For further details and to submit your nominations, please check here.

Finally, for those interested, there are four juvenile court counselor positions available in Iredell, Union, Cleveland and Forsyth counties that will be closing today.  Interested parties can view and apply to these jobs here.

Progression of Raise the Age

On Thursday, Jan. 11, the N.C. Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) met for its second meeting since the passage of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act.  During the meeting, several presenters addressed the Committee with research data and considerations for the juvenile justice system prior to and after the changes to the law are implemented.

AOC Director Marion Warren and Brad Fowler, manager of the AOC Research, Policy, and Planning Division, shared AOC’s analysis of the possible workload increase and need for more staff.  Fowler emphasized the need to assess the resources going into the cases we have now to prepare the juvenile justice system for the arrival of more cases.  “The system to handle 16- and 17-year-olds will not drop out of the sky the day the law changes,” he said.  “Having [the pieces] in place before that time is the goal.”

William L Lassiter, deputy secretary of juvenile justice for the Department of Public Safety, went on to discuss considerations for fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019.  Lassiter pointed out the need for subcommittees within JJAC, the success of raising the age in other states, and the need for more staff, improved facilities and community programs to assist youth.  Lassiter said that when Raise the Age was implemented in other states, complaints and recidivism rates dropped significantly, especially for kids younger than 12, because more diversion programs were explored as more kids were brought into the juvenile justice system.  While discussing community programs, he praised the success of North Carolina’s own Teen Court program.  “Teen Court is much more consequential and has a higher level of accountability than regular court.  Kids don’t want their friends to get away with something they didn’t get away with,” he said jokingly, pointing out how juveniles had to admit their guilt for a crime in Teen Court and a jury of their peers would ensure that juveniles would receive a suitable punishment in the form of community service, in addition to a term on the Teen Court jury.  Lassiter stated that participants in the Teen Court program only had a 12 percent recidivism rate and he desired for every district to have their own program.  He gave JJAC a breakdown of potential costs for community programs, new transportation for juveniles, and hiring of additional staff over the next few years, up to FY 2020-2021, which included about 292 new positions.

JJAC

Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry offered a brief presentation on the history and structure of North Carolina’s juvenile indigent defense system and the Office of the Juvenile Defender’s plan in preparation for the implementation of the law.  Zogry emphasized the need for a dedicated juvenile defender system in our state while pointing out that the majority of N.C. counties lacked a designated juvenile defender.  Mary Stansell, Juvenile chief of the Wake County Public Defender’s Office and member of JJAC, backed Zogry’s point, citing examples from her own personal experience of working with lawyers who were not familiar with or just not committed to the specialized practice of juvenile defense.

The last presentation by the Honorable J. Corpening, chief district court judge of District 5, discussed several phases to develop the school-justice partnership program.  Corpening talked about establishing relationships with other judges at leadership training, the progression of the program so far for specific counties, and the need for a comprehensive toolkit, website, and other resources to assist counties in implementing their own school-justice partnership programs.

Finally, the Committee returned to Lassiter’s suggestion to establish subcommittees to assist in the planning and execution of the new initiatives they would have to address in the coming months.  Several members of JJAC and others in attendance were selected to serve on the subcommittees before the chairs called for the meeting to be adjourned.

That is all the news for this week.  To catch up on upcoming training seminars, please be sure to check out our past posts.  We will be providing further updates on training, the progress of the Raise the Age initiative, job opportunities and more each week, so be sure to subscribe to the blog, Facebook page, and Twitter for all the news we have going forward into 2018!