OJD Week in Review: Nov. 5 – 9

Hello again and a happy Friday to you!  This week we’ve got one new job opportunity and one new training program to announce.

Job Opportunities

The Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts public defender agency, is currently seeking a director for its newly created Strategic Litigation Unit.  The Strategic Litigation Unit will be responsible for litigation aimed at achieving systemic and institutional reform in all of CPCS’s criminal and civil practice areas.  The Strategic Litigation Director will lead those efforts and will work with other attorneys, advocacy organizations, and clients to promote justice for and protect the rights of individuals who are parties in criminal and civil right-to-counsel proceedings.  The director’s responsibilities will include criminal and civil litigation and administrative advocacy.  Litigation will include both trial and appellate advocacy in state and federal court.  Depending upon the matter at issue, the director may serve as lead counsel, co-counsel, consultant, amicus curiae, or provide technical support.  The position will be posted until filled; preference will be given to candidates who apply prior to November 26, 2018.  To find further information and to apply, please visit here.

Bay Area Legal Aid is currently seeking a Youth Justice Staff Attorney who will provide civil legal services designed to meet the individualized needs of delinquency-involved youth, with a particular focus on SSI cases for children with disabilities.  This position is based out of Alameda County, CA.  But the position may include travel throughout the Bay Area.  The Youth Justice Attorney’s responsibilities include client interviews, negotiations with governmental agencies/opposing parties, research and writing, and representation at administrative and court proceedings.  The attorney is also expected to engage in outreach with probation, social services, law enforcement, youth service providers, and other community organizations.  Beyond SSI cases, the position may also include a smaller, mixed caseload in areas such as special education, health access, public benefits (e.g. foster care benefits, CalWORKs, and General Assistance), legal permanency, housing, and other work.  Clients served by this project experience high rates of sexual exploitation, abuse and neglect, and mental health-related issues which the attorney will be expected to navigated in providing legal assistance.  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue on a rolling basis, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.  For a full description of the job responsibilities and the application process, please check here.

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Training

From March 25- 29, 2019, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) will be hosting the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Certificate Program.  This is an intensive training  hosted in partnership with the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) and designed to support local jurisdictions in their efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their juvenile justice systems.   The training will allow participants to develop and implement a Capstone Project designed to reduce the disparate treatment in their communities.  CJJR will only accept a limited number of applicants, so please visit the website to view the curriculum and learn how to apply to the training.  Applications will be accepted through December 14, 2018.  For more information, please visit the training website.

On Dec. 7, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the UNC School of Government will be hosting the 2018 Winter Criminal Law Update.  This webinar will cover recent criminal law decisions issued by the North Carolina appellate courts and U.S. Supreme Court and will highlight significant criminal law legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly.  School of Government criminal law experts Shea Denning and Phil Dixon Jr. will discuss a wide range of issues affecting felony and misdemeanor cases in the North Carolina state courts.  Participants will receive 1.5 hours of general CLE credit and this qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit.  All public defenders, private attorneys who handle or are interested in pursuing indigent criminal defense work, and other court personnel who handle criminal cases are invited.  The registration fee for private assigned counsel, contract attorneys, and other non-IDS employees is $75.00.  There is no registration fee for IDS state employees.   Please visit here to register online and find additional information about the webinar.  Pre-registration is required; the deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5.  As it is a live broadcast, the webinar is NOT subject to the State Bar’s 6-hour per year credit limit for computer-based CLE.  For more info, please contact Program Manager Tanya Jisa or call 919.843.8981.

That’s the wrap-up for this week!  There are a few things planned from our office before the end of the year, so please check back again soon!

OJD Week in Review: Oct. 15 – 19

Welcome to another Friday and another blog post!  This week there are some new job opportunities, a new resource and some training opportunities approaching quickly.

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Job Opportunities

The Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CFJJ) in Massachusetts will be accepting applications for a new executive director until Monday, Oct. 22.  The selected candidate will be responsible for fundraising, meeting with stakeholders, representing CFJJ to the public, managing overall operations and communicating with the Board.  For the full description please view here.

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is seeking an entry-level assistant appellate defender.  The ideal candidate will have the ability to analyze facts, accept advice and learn from assigned mentors, identify relevant law, apply facts and communicate complex legal concepts effectively, and treat clients with respect.  Applications for this position will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 4.  For the full job description and to apply, please visit here.

Training

On Oct. 30, from 2 – 5 p.m., OJD will be hosting a Juvenile Court Basics CLE at the Surry County Courthouse.  There are 3 CLE credit hours pending for this training.  There is no need to RSVP and all are welcome to attend.  Please contact our office if you have any questions.

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.

New Resources

PEW Charitable Trusts has recently released Juveniles in Custody for Noncriminal Acts, an interactive data visualization tool that shows a state-by-state breakdown of youth who are detained due to probation violations and status offenses.  This interactive tool uses data on the confinement of youth in each state by percentage, number, and rate per 100,000 youth.  You can access the tool here.

That covers everything for this week.  Be sure to check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for other content and N.C. juvenile defenders can contact us to be added to our listserv as well.  Have a great weekend!

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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.

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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!

From NJDC: Probation Supervision Fees Trap Children and Families in Juvenile Court System

 

WASHINGTON, DC — Youth in 21 states can be charged fees for the cost of probation supervision, placing a tremendous burden on young people and their families, according to an issue brief and corresponding infographic released today by the National Juvenile Defender Center.

“These fees create a cycle of debt for families. Children are charged merely for being placed on probation, which exacerbates racial disparities and prolongs the length of time a young person is forced to stay in the system,” said Mary Ann Scali, executive director of the National Juvenile Defender Center.

The Cost of Juvenile Probation is based on interviews with juvenile defenders and probation officers in at least one jurisdiction in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Among the jurisdictions that reported charging fees, the costs vary from a flat fee of $10 to monthly fees that can add up to well above $2,000 — and that’s on top of numerous other fines and costs charged as a result of a delinquency case. If children or families do not have the means to pay the fees, the consequences can be devastating; among them, children are locked up, kept on probation indefinitely, or have civil judgments imposed on them and their families.

“When young people are charged supervision fees, families often must confront the impossible dilemma of covering the cost of their child’s freedom or affording household necessities, which only serves to perpetuate the criminalization of poverty,” said Scali. “In general, no formal process exists for a family to demonstrate they are unable to afford these fees and seek relief.”

The findings reveal an absence of uniform standards across or within states that determines how fees are assessed or whether they’re enforced, resulting in unequal access to justice. The issue brief urges state legislatures and juvenile courts to eliminate the use of supervision fees for juvenile probation. Recommendations also compel juvenile defenders to actively push for waiver of fees based on their incompatibility with the goal of youth success.

“Probation is the most common sentence young people receive in juvenile court, and yet by assessing supervision fees, courts distract from any genuine progress children make,” said Scali. “The fees also create unnecessary stress among family members, particularly when young people need the most support. It’s long past time to drop the use of supervision fees and focus on supporting children’s strengths.”

The National Juvenile Defender Center is dedicated to promoting justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. Through community building, training, and policy reform, we provide national leadership on juvenile defense issues with a focus on the deprivation of young people’s rights in the court system. For more information, please visit our website at www.njdc.info.

Case Summaries Update: In re D.E.P.

Please see the latest update to our “Case Summaries” list on the “Materials for Defenders” page.  The latest entry to the list, located in the”Dispositions: Appeals” and “Dispositions: Sentencing” sections, is the published opinion In re D.E.P. which established that:

The trial court is not required by G.S. 7B-2512 to make findings of fact that address each of the G.S. 7B-2501(c) factors and did not abuse its discretion in ordering a Level 3 commitment based on the juvenile’s repeated violations of probation.

Dec. 7th Defender Call: Just in Case You Missed It

 

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Just in case you missed it, during the last statewide juvenile defender call for 2016, Eric Zogry addressed recent updates with the Raise the Age bill, our new ideas for improving communications statewide, and alternatives to probation.

In regards to Raise the Age, the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice had their final meeting.  One of the key recommendations was to raise of the age of juvenile jurisdiction for 16 and 17 year olds, and Chief Justice Mark Martin stated that this initiative would be a priority for the 2017 legislative session.  The N.C. Sheriff’s Association, a former major opponent to the bill, is now in support of the RTA legislation after some changes were made in the proposal and some strong efforts to communicate the impact of the bill by commission and subcommittee members.

With the growing effort to improve communications with juvenile defenders, Marcus Thompson, the new communications and office manager, was brought on board to the OJD team.  Marcus introduced himself and briefly discussed building a regular presence for the office on Twitter, maintenance of the OJD website, and his plans to distribute a survey in January to gather more information about what juvenile defenders statewide think should be done about communications from our office.  He also extended an invitation for defenders to offer ideas about the blog.

Finally, Eric opened the discussion to gather defenders’ thoughts about alternatives to probation.  Suggestions about informal deferrals, moving to bring in mitigation experts, referring cases back to intake court counselors, and scrutiny of risk and needs assessment were all brought up.

A Brief Word on the Harms of Juvenile Detention and Juvenile Probation Order Reform

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What’s the harm in putting a child in a detention center?  While it might be argued that juvenile detention is in the best interest of the child prior to trial, statistical data proves otherwise.  The detrimental affects on youth and their families for even brief periods of containment in juvenile detention are detailed here.

Probation orders are also a common problem, and probation just happens to be the most common disposition given to juveniles adjudicated delinquent.  The rules of probation are difficult to understand and follow for most juveniles, and if not tailored appropriately to the child, the rules can be easily violated and lead to long-term repercussions on them.  In order for probation to yield the intended positive effects for youth, change is greatly needed.  You can learn more here.

Both articles above were recently published by the National Juvenile Defender Center.