2018 Year in Review

This past year has been a very eventful and exciting year for the juvenile defense community.  With N.C. now less than a year from the full implementation of the Raise the Age (RTA) legislation, which will raise the age of juvenile delinquency court jurisdiction, OJD has been working throughout 2018 to prepare attorneys around the state for the anticipated changes.

RTA

Contracts & Trainings

Trainings:  OJD hosted multiple regional trainings around the state to discuss the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (also known as the RTA legislation) and the office’s plans to address it going forward.  OJD also hosted various juvenile court basics trainings in different regions at the request of local attorneys and bar associations and will continue to do so upon request.  OJD also presented to law students and collaborated with other organizations, such as the N.C. Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section, to train attorneys on RTA.

Contracts:  OJD established no new contracts this year, however there was a juvenile delinquency RFP issued and a few open contract positions filled through the year.  As part of the response to RTA, OJD will 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 and strategize on their cases.

Legislation

While there was no new legislation this year that OJD worked on, Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry continued to be active on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) and the Legal Revisions and Legislative Issues Subcommittee, assisting in the planning and adjustments before the full implementation of RTA.  We also provide the most current information we can for frontline defenders and stakeholders pertaining to the changes to the law.

Outreach

This year OJD has continued to grow in our online presence.  We’ve continued to trend Dilemma of Dutiesupward with the numbers on social media and we still encourage all attorneys doing juvenile defense work in N.C. to join our Facebook/Twitter page.  On the OJD website, new content is still being added to the blog, and new resources are still being provided to prepare attorneys on the RTA page under the “Information for Defenders” tab.  We’ve also had some great new interviews on the OJD podcast, including a feature on Dr. Anne Corbin’s book, Dilemma of Duties, which focuses exclusively on attorneys in the N.C. juvenile justice system, and a discussion on juvenile psychological development and evaluations with Dr. Cindy Cottle.

In 2018, the bulk of our outreach efforts have been dedicated to education and the celebration of the passage of RTA, and also establishing relationships with organizations that have interest in the new legislation.  OJD has also met with N.C. Central University’s staff to strategize on how to utilize the technology available through their Virtual Justice Project to assist in outreach for 2019.

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.

New Initiatives

With the implementation of RTA underway, OJD has executed its three-part plan to address the needs of defenders to absorb the increased number of cases.  This includes (1) developing virtual and in-person statewide and local conferences, trainings and presentations to keep defenders informed, (2) proposing a system of dedicated defenders through contracting with local defenders and consulting with public defender offices and contractors to determine the impact of potential increase in caseload, and (3) continuing to work on policy development as it pertains to RTA implementation.  Our office continues to update the RTA page on the OJD website with resources specifically related to the legislation and our plans, including summaries and a compilation of articles, and we will continue to update this page as more materials become available.

OJJDP Grant

Early in 2018, with the anticipated increase in the juvenile caseload once 16- and 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system as a result of RTA, OJD and the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) applied for a federal grant offered through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).  The plan was to use the grant to help fund efforts to give attorneys access to more specialized training and resources and also increase our capacity for data collection over the next few years.  Fortunately, OJD was awarded the grant and has created the new Project Attorney position to assist in the planning and execution of virtual and in-person training statewide to better address juvenile defenders’ needs.  IDS has also created a new Juvenile Contract Specialist position to assist with the caseload increase.

OJD Week in Review: Oct. 8 – 12

We’ve all had that moment.  We walk into a bookstore, only to browse, not to buy, but then we come across that one book with that story or nugget of wisdom that intrigues us so much we have to leave with it…

Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry had one of many moments like that for himself not too long ago, but the book he left Book Planet with contained a piece of little-known history that echoes much of the language we are using now… in the Juvenile Jurisdiction Reinvestment Act.  Zogry found a copy of Public Laws of North Carolina: Session 1915.  This single volume of all public laws passed contains a chapter dedicated to juvenile delinquency and custody.

In regards to juvenile jurisdiction, the book states several times that the law, which is referred to in other places as the “Probation Courts Act”, “applies to children eighteen years of age and under.”  We’re emphasizing this section, noting that, at least for a few years, juvenile jurisdiction included 18-year-olds, not just 16- and 17-year-olds.  It also states these children “may be arrested, but without imprisonment with hardened criminals.”  However, there is one piece included that says children cannot be placed in any jail or prison enclosure where they “will be the companion of older and more hardened criminals, except where the charge is for a capital or other felony, or where the child is a known incorrigible or habitual offender.”  The older law does emphasize proper placements, such as a suitable county or State training school or a proper private homes, and probation and bail.  Of course, the new Raise the Age legislation also allows exceptions for placement of older kids who commit higher level offenses, but there is a push for more diversion programs as well.

history

This law, which precedes our upcoming implementation Raise the Age, was repealed in 1919, but it is interesting to see things come full circle, right back to where we started over a hundred years ago.  And it’s also interesting that even in the digital age, you can still find something fascinating that you didn’t realize you wanted at the local bookstore.

You can read the transcription of the Probation Courts Act here on our website at the bottom of the Raise the Age page and also find a PDF copy of Public Laws of North Carolina: Session 1915 on the State Library of North Carolina website.

Job Opportunities

The Council for Children’s Rights is seeking to hire a full-time juvenile defense attorney for its Children’s Defense Team.  The juvenile defense attorney will primarily represent children in the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Court.  To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter here by TuesdayOct. 16.

The Lousiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) is currently accepting applications for a Miller staff attorney, a regional mitigation specialist, and a Miller mitigation supervisor.

Training

On ThursdayOct. 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section in collaboration with the Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a CLE in Asheville, N.C. at the Lexington Brewery.  This CLE will have presentations from IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, discussing the ethical obligations to representing youth following the full implementation of Raise the Age, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, discussing strategies for utilizing resources and advocating for the best results for clients to set them up for success.  One CLE credit hour in ethics and one general  CLE credit hour for this course are currently pending with the Bar.  A sidebar social will also be held at the same location at 5:30 p.m.  You do not need to be a member of NCAJ to attend this CLE.  Everyone can attend for free and pay their CLE credit fees directly to the Bar.  To RSVP, please contact Valerie Pearce by email here or call 919-667-3369.

RTA

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 and the deadline to register will be Oct. 31.  Lunch will be provided.  To register please visit the UNC SOG site here.

That is all there is this time around.  Happy Friday, thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

OJD Week in Review: Oct. 1 – 5

Happy First Friday!  This week, as far as news, we’ve got one new job opportunity added.

We also want to mention that we are still updating our Case Summaries list.  Most recently, we’ve added the published delinquency opinion for In re J.B., which deals with self-incrimination.  We do want to apologize for any issues with the links to the PDF versions of the opinions.  The addresses still work when copied into a browser, but we are aware that the hyperlink within the document gives an error message.  We apologize for that inconvenience, and we are still seeking solutions around it.

Job Opportunities

The Council for Children’s Rights is seeking to hire a full-time juvenile defense attorney for its Children’s Defense Team.  The juvenile defense attorney will primarily represent children in the Mecklenburg County Juvenile Court.  To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter here by Oct. 16.

too-awesome-meme-e1495332925779

The Lousiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) is currently accepting applications for a Miller staff attorney, a regional mitigation specialist, and a Miller mitigation supervisor.

Training

On Oct. 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section in collaboration with the Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a CLE in Asheville, N.C. at the Lexington Brewery.  This CLE will have presentations from IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, discussing the ethical obligations to representing youth following the full implementation of Raise the Age, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, discussing strategies for utilizing resources and advocating for the best results for clients to set them up for success.  One CLE credit hour in ethics and one general  CLE credit hour for this course are currently pending with the Bar.  A sidebar social will also be held at the same location at 5:30 p.m.  You do not need to be a member of NCAJ to attend this CLE.  Everyone can attend for free and pay their CLE credit fees directly to the Bar.  To RSVP, please contact Valerie Pearce by email here or call 919-667-3369.

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 and the deadline to register will be Oct. 31.  Lunch will be provided.  To register please visit the UNC SOG site here.

That is all there is for this week.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

OJD Week in Review: Sept. 24 – 28

Happy Friday to all!  This week there is more training to announce and two new podcast segments now available on SoundCloud.

Training

On Oct. 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Juvenile Defense Section in collaboration with the Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a CLE in Asheville, N.C. at the Lexington Brewery.  This CLE will have presentations from IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, discussing the ethical obligations to representing youth following the full implementation of Raise the Age, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, discussing strategies for utilizing resources and advocating for the best results for clients to set them up for success.  One CLE credit hour in ethics and one general  CLE credit hour for this course are currently pending with the Bar.  A sidebar social will also be held at the same location at 5:30 p.m.  You do not need to be a member of NCAJ to attend this CLE.  Everyone can attend for free and pay their CLE credit fees directly to the Bar.  To RSVP, please contact Valerie Pearce by email here or call 919-667-3369.

every-day-is-training-day

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 and the deadline to register will be Oct. 31.  Lunch will be provided.  To register please visit the UNC SOG site here.

From Around the Community

Dilemma of DutiesEarlier this week, we posted our newest N.C. Juvenile Defender podcast with Dr. Anne Corbin about her new book, Dilemma of Duties: The Conflicted Role of Juvenile Defenders.  During the podcast, we discuss the background behind Dilemma of Duties, Corbin’s thoughts on how role conflict may be affected once Raise the Age is fully implemented, ideas from other defenders regarding the juvenile justice system, and much more.

This was our longest interview so far, and to make it easier to digest, we’ve broken it into two 25-minute segments.  Please take a moment to listen to part one of two here and feel free to listen to the final segment here to get all of the substantial info Corbin had to share with us.  Also, please check out Dilemma of Duties, which is available in print and e-book format and can be purchased through Southern Illinois University PressAmazon, Google BooksGoodreads, or wherever you like to make your book purchases!

Job Opportunities

The Lousiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) is currently accepting applications for a Miller staff attorney, a regional mitigation specialist, and a Miller mitigation supervisor.

That is all there is for this week.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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: Dec. 4-8

This week is we’ve just got lots of upcoming training announcements and… an update on Raise the Age!

Training, Training, and More Training

TRAINING--DEVELOPMENTOn Dec. 14, juvenile defenders have the opportunity to fill their afternoon with two sessions of training, one online and one in-person.  The Office of the Juvenile Defender and North Carolina Advocates for Justice will be hosting a free juvenile defense CLE in Courtroom 1 of the Wayne County Courthouse on 224 E. Walnut St. in Goldsboro, N.C.  The training, titled “Juvenile Defense – Effective Representation Now and For the Future”, will be held from 1-4 p.m. and a networking lunch will be provided from 12-1.  Three CLE credit hours will be earned by participants.  Please RSVP with Valerie Pearce by email or call 919-667-3369.  And starting at 4 p.m. EST, the National Juvenile Justice Network will be hosting a one-hour webinar titled “Police-Youth Engagement: Working on the Front Lines”, to discuss improving relationships between youth, police, and the community.  You can register for the webinar here.

The Southern Juvenile Defender Center has recently announced that it will be holding the 2018 SJDC Regional Summit on June 8-9 in Columbia, S.C.  The University of South Carolina School of Law will be hosting the event.  Registration and agenda details will be coming soon.

Registration is now open for the Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking.  Hosted by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in collaboration with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Rights4Girls, this interactive training will include hypothetical scenarios, case scenarios, lectures, small group discussions, and practical courtroom exercises focused on the issue of child sex trafficking in the U.S.  This free training will be held in Asheville on Feb. 12-14.  Judges and judicial officers are encouraged to register here.

On the Way to Raise the Age

JJAC

The first meeting of the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee was held Monday, December 4, 2017.  The Committee, formed under the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (“Raise the Age”), is tasked to develop a specific plan for the implementation of raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction, including costs and other policy recommendations.  Co-chaired by retired Wilkes County Chief Court Counselor Bill D. Davis and District 22B District Attorney Garry Frank, the Committee heard several presentations, including the work of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice that led to the most recent legislation, the rationale and data behind the policy considerations to raise the age, and further legislative, planning and policy considerations for implementation.  An interim report is due to the General Assembly March 1, 2018, and the next meetings will be held January 11, 2018 and February 5, 2018.  More information about the Committee may be found here.

That is all we have for you today.  On the note of N.C.’s plan to raise the age, we would like to encourage all juvenile justice advocates to reach out and share your opinions, whether you’ve got a piece you want to share on our blog or an idea or shout-out on Twitter or Facebook, please reach out!  And on a side note, in case you missed it, we posted a new podcast discussing Capital Area Teen Court on SoundCloud the week of Thanksgiving, so check it out.  Be sure to check back with us next week for more news and updates.

OJD Week in Review: Nov. 27- Dec. 1

This week we’ve got plenty of training opportunities to announce and discussions and statistics to share.

Upcoming Trainings

The Office of the Juvenile Defender and North Carolina Advocates for Justice will be hosting a free juvenile defense CLE in Courtroom 1 of the Wayne County Courthouse on 224 E. Walnut St. in Goldsboro, N.C. on Thursday, Dec. 14.  The training, titled “Juvenile Defense – Effective Representation Now and For the Future”, will be held from 1-4 p.m. and a networking lunch will be provided from 12-1.  Presenters will include IDS Regional Defender Valerie Pearce, Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes, and Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry.  Topics discussed will include detention advocacy, the role of counsel and dispositional advocacy and tips and expected practice changes following the implementation of Raise the Age.  Please RSVP with Valerie Pearce by email or call 919-667-3369.

On Dec. 6, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in collaboration with the Age of Criminal Responsibility Research Training and Technical Assistance Center will present a webinar called “Practical Impact of the Age of Criminal Responsibility: Perspectives of Youth and Family Members“.  You can register for the webinar here.

yoda training

On Dec. 14, starting at 4 p.m. EST, the National Juvenile Justice Network will be hosting a one-hour webinar titled “Police-Youth Engagement: Working on the Front Lines” , to discuss improving relationships between youth, police, and the community.  Presenters will include Valerie Slater of the RISE for Youth Coalition and Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellow and Assistant Chief of the Scottsdale Police Department and Alum of YJLI Helen Gandara.   You can register for the webinar here.

Also, if you’re concerned about your CLE credits and what to do with all of your free time in early 2018, please add Feb. 8, 2018 to your calendar.  The UNC School of Government will be hosting the 2018 Regional Training for Indigent Defense in Sanford, N.C.  This training will provide three CLE credit hours and will focus on defending sex offenses.  Registration will be open by mid-Dec. and our office will continue to keep you updated as new information arises.

Other News You Can Use

We wanted to bring attention to our newest podcast on SoundCloud about the Capital Area Teen Court Program.  In this segment OJD’s Fall Intern Cody Davis engages in a Q&A with Communications & Office Manager Marcus Thompson, as Davis shares his personal experiences as a volunteer and his analysis of the program from his past research.  You can listen to the podcast here and review Cody’s cost benefit analysis of the program here.

Last week the UNC School of Government also posted video in which Phil Dixon interviews Executive Director of Indigent Defense Services Tom Maher.  In this video, Dixon and Maher discuss the rates for privately assigned counsel and the indigent defense system.  You can find the post with the link to the video here.

The National Center for Juvenile Justice along with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released a new brief titled “5 Ways State Juvenile Correctional Administrators Can Use Data“.

OJJDP has also released a new Data Snapshot sheet in the Statistical Briefing Book, this time focusing on youth homicide victims.  You can view the latest statistical data here.

That is all for now, folks, and we will continue to provide further updates soon.  Do not forget to subscribe, like, or share on our of our channels.  And to N.C. Juvenile Defenders, we would also like to remind everyone to reach out to us if you are not a part of the juvenile defense listserv so that can add you!  And check back again with us next week.

stay tuned