OJD Week in Review: Apr. 9 – 13

This week we’ve got a new resource we wanted to bring attention to regarding sex offender registration and a few new events to add to the previous week’s rundown.

From Around the Community

Registration is now open for the 81st Annual National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Conference.  The event this year will take place at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center from July 22 – 25.  The conference will offer presentations/training tracks on  topics such as family law, juvenile justice, child welfare, and family violence.  This conference is judicially-focused and open to all those interested in the improvement of juvenile and family justice.  For registration and further info, please visit the NCJFCJ website here.

Recertification pic

We would like to take a moment to recognize those who recently received renewed certification to specialize in juvenile delinquency during the Annual Luncheon of the N.C. State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.  Congratulations to (from left to right) Juvenile Chief of the Wake County Public Defender’s Office and Chair of the Juvenile Specialty Committee Mary Stansell, Regional Defender at N.C. Indigent Defense Services Valerie Pearce, and Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry.  Union County Attorney Anna Goodwin, who is also a member of the Juvenile Specialty Committee, was also in attendance.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Council of State Governments Justice Center will host the 2018 Janet Reno Forum on May 21 at  Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  The forum will highlight strategies for restructuring juvenile justice systems to more effectively enhance public safety and improve outcomes for youth.  The event will include the presentation of the second annual Janet Reno Endowment Women’s Leadership Award, and attendees will receive a publication featuring the highlighted strategies.  Policymakers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, and other stakeholders are invited to attend.  Please register here.

New Resource

Since North Carolina does not automatically require juveniles to register if they’ve been adjudicated of a sex offense, many defenders don’t think to discuss sex offender registration with their clients.  However, your client may be required to register if your client moves to another state, attends college out of state, or goes to Virginia or South Carolina for treatment.  This resource – A Snapshot of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification” will help you to advise your clients of potential issues if they leave North Carolina.  Please note that the manual is from 2010, so be sure to double-check that no new laws have been passed since then, but it’s a great starting point.  Additionally, if you find that DJJ is recommending sending your client for treatment in a state that will require your client to be on its sex offender registry (notably Virginia and South Carolina), please contact our office.  We have a motion for you to file to ask the court to enter an injunction regarding placement in a facility that would require the juvenile to register (and it’s been successful – many judges don’t understand this either).

Training

Disability Rights North Carolina will be hosting its 2018 Disability Advocacy Conference next Thursday, Apr. 19.  The conference offers 5.0 CLE credits for lawyers, which includes 1.0 credit hour for substance abuse/mental health awareness.  Sessions include parental rights, restrictive interventions in public schools, guardianship reforms, and a session exclusively tailored to attorneys titled “Recognizing and Responding to a Lawyer with a Mental Health Disorder”, just to name a few.  To learn more about this event and register please visit their web page here.

Registration is now open for N.C. Bar Association’s annual meeting, this year titled “The Future of Law”.   This event will be hosted at the Wilmington Convention Center from June 21 – 24.  For those who register before May 1, a President’s Luncheon ticket and 6.0 CLE credit hours will be included with the registration price.  Topics covered will include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, design thinking in the law, and the future of legal service delivery.  For further info and to register please check out the NCBA website and the event brochure.

RTA

On May 10, the N.C. Bar Association will be hosting “Raise the Age: A New Era for Juvenile Justice in North Carolina” at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary, from 8:25 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This seminar promises to expand attendees’ understanding of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act and its practical and ethical implications.  Attendees will receive 5.5 CLE credits total, with 1.0 CLE credit in Ethics/Professional Responsibility and 4.5 General CLE credits.  For further details about this event, please check the website here.

We hope you saved the date!  It was recently announced that the 2018 Defender Trial School, cosponsored by the School of Government and the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13, 2018, at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  Defender Trial School participants will use their own cases to develop a cohesive theory of defense at trial and apply that theory through all stages of trial, including voir dire, opening and closing arguments, and direct and cross-examination.  The program will offer approximately 30 hours of general CLE credit and qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit.  The Defender Trial School is open to public defenders and a limited number of private attorneys who perform a significant amount of appointed work.  Further details will be provided on the course page in the near future.  Any questions or requests for additional info should be directed to Tanya Jisa at jisa@sog.unc.edu / 919.843.8981 or Professor John Rubin at rubin@sog.unc.edu/ 919.962.2498.

23777394-Save-the-date-grunge-rubber-stamp-on-white-vector-illustration-Stock-Vector

Job Opportunities

The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) is seeking a mid-level policy attorney to handle youth justice issues in Santa Clara County.  Applications will be accepted until Sunday, Apr. 15, so get yours in soon!  For further details and to apply please check here.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is still 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.  Applications for the Institute (found here) must be submitted by Apr. 23.

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is currently hiring a strategic communications manager.  The individual in this position will be responsible for crafting organizational messaging, overseeing editorial excellence, and working with leadership to implement a communications strategy that is creative, forward-thinking, and reflective of NJDC’s vision.  This position will remain opened until filled.  To find further info about the position and how to apply, please go here.

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.

This will do it for now.  We will be in contact with a few members of the N.C. juvenile defender community soon, providing a survey to gather feedback to improve our communications as we did last year.  If you do not receive an email from us with a link to the survey, please feel free to contact us any time with your thoughts for our blog, podcast, Facebook, Twitter, or the listserv.    We are always seeking ways to provide better support to defenders.  Thank you for reading and we will be sure to share more next week!

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!

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.

Juvenile Defender Conference 2017: A Testimonial from Martin Moore

As summer reaches full swing, I hope each of the juvenile advocates reading this blog are enjoying the same (temporary) reprieve that we are here in Asheville. During this hiatus, I would encourage any interested juvenile justice advocates to consider joining us at the Juvenile Defender Conference hosted at the UNC School of Government. For those who have not yet attended, the Juvenile Defender’s Conference is an annual event hosted by the School of Government.

This year, Program Attorney Austine Long has put together a compelling set of topics including seminars on motions to suppress, capacity to proceed, implicit bias, detention hearings, and a case law update. Altogether, six hours of CLE credit will be offered for attending the Conference, including one hour of ethics/professional responsibility credit. This year’s guest faculty/presenters will include Mary Stansell, Kim Howes, Terri Johnson, James Drennan, LaToya Powell, and Martin Moore.

In addition to the substantive education that caters to both new and experienced juvenile attorneys, it is one of the best opportunities to network with great minds across the state. In addition to long-lasting professional contacts and friendships, it is one of the rare opportunities to mix and mingle with juvenile court practitioners and share the in-and outs of practice in our respective jurisdictions.

The registration deadline for the Conference is 5:00 p.m. this Thursday, July 27. I hope to see you there!

Martin Moore

Martin Moore is an Assistant Public Defender in Asheville, North Carolina.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Moore went on to obtain his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  In his free time, he enjoys music and volunteers with a local non-profit helping underprivileged youth gain access to education.  You can connect with him via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-moore-8792814bor contact him by email or his website at Martin@MartinEkimMoore.com or www.martinekimmoore.com.

Juvenile Defenders Reflect on Gault & Their Careers in the N.C. State Bar Journal

The North Carolina State Bar Journal has published an article from the Office of the Juvenile Defender in its Summer 2017 issue in honor of In re Gault.  The article, titled “Juvenile Defenders Reflect on Their Careers and 50 Years Since”, is a Q&A-style piece written by Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry and features Barbara Fedders, assistant professor at UNC School of Law and director of the Youth Justice Clinic, Mary Stansell, juvenile chief of the Wake County Public Defender Office, Sabrina Leshore, attorney of Leshore Law Firm, PLLC, and executive director of CROSSED, Scott Dennis, associate at Bringewatt Snover, Starr Ward, juvenile defender in Guilford County, Mitch Feld, director of Children’s Defense at the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, and Yolanda Fair, assistant public defender in Buncombe County.

2017BarJournal_120101Juvenile defenders were asked a variety of questions, ranging from who influenced their practice and why they became involved in delinquency law to what advice they would pass on to the next generation of defenders and what keeps them going on the toughest days of their career.

When asked what she finds most and least rewarding about practicing in juvenile court, Fedders said, “I like forming relationships with kids.  The lawyer-client relationship is unique and special.  What I like least is how little impact court involvement has on a kid, how meaningless the court proceedings typically are to kids.”

On the subject of Gault and it’s influence on their practice, the interviewees also provided very passionate, thoughtful responses.  Mitch Feld stated “The Gault decision has increased my passion to tell others that children have the same rights as adults do.  People tend to be very quick to say ‘well it’s just a child’ or ‘they’re a child so they won’t know what to decide.’  Minimizing children and treating them like second-class citizens causes me to fight even harder for them to be treated like anyone else.”

The article was released digitally about a week ago and the PDF version can be found here. Now the printed version is also available and we want to encourage everyone to get a copy to read the words of wisdom from these inspirational people.