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: Jan. 7 – 11

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

Tip of the Week – No Cookie-Cutter Dispositions!

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

Job Opportunities

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

On Dec. 1, Indigent Defense Services (IDS) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in Caswell, Person, Alamance, Orange, and Chatham counties.  The current contracts for adult noncapital criminal cases at the trial level and per session court cases in those districts will expire on May 31, 2019 and renew on June 1, 2019.  The RFP (RFP #16-0002R) seeks services for adult noncapital criminal cases at the trial level, juvenile delinquency, abuse/neglect/dependency and termination of parental rights, and treatment courts.  Please note that the RFP will not seek offers for potentially capital cases at the trial level, direct appeals or post-conviction cases.  Also, the juvenile delinquency RFP will only include Caswell, Alamance, and Person counties.  The deadline for electronic offers is Feb. 15.  To access the RFP, please check here.

Training

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

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Save the date!  The 2019 Regional Training for Indigent Defense: Special Issues in Complex Felony Cases will be held on March 21 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.  The training will focus on topics relevant to criminal law practitioners and is open to IDS contract attorneys and privately assigned counsel.  Participants will receive three general CLE credit hours.  Registration should open later this month.

First JJAC Meeting of 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Resources

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

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

OJD Week in Review: Dec. 31 – Jan. 4

Happy New Year!  We’re starting the year off with a great new podcast, a couple of training and job opportunity reminders, a new free resource and a new tip for you (just because we know you’ve been missing them for the last few weeks).

tips memeTip of the Week – Before You Plea

Talk to your client about the impacts of an adjudication.  While not as public as adult criminal convictions, juvenile adjudications may impact the following: immigration status, educational placement, housing conditions, eligibility to play sports, placement on a sex offender registry (in N.C. or other states) and others.  Always consider the long-term consequences of what may first appear to be a short-term decision.

New Resources

Before the close of 2018, we had the pleasure of sitting down with forensic psychologist Dr. Cindy Cottle, to discuss juvenile psychological development on our podcast.  In this new segment, we talk about Roper v. Simmons, what juvenile defenders should know before contacting an evaluator, the impact that involvement in our current juvenile justice system can have on the mental health of youth, and much more.  You can listen to the podcast here.

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While not exactly a new resource, we wanted to make sure everyone was aware that the School of Government’s Legislative Reporting Service (LRS) is now FREE!  This site provides legislative summaries of everything coming out of the N.C. General Assembly including filed bills, committee substitutes and amendments, floor amendments, and conference reports.  The site also offers tools to assist you in organizing the bills and reports that most interest you.  You can check it out here.

Job Opportunities

Juvenile Law Center in Pennsylvania is currently accepting applications for a Staff Attorney, who will work in a highly collegial atmosphere with attorneys, communications, development, and operations staff, and in partnership with colleagues around the state and country.  The work will include litigation, policy advocacy, public education, media advocacy, legal and non-legal writing, training, technical assistance, coordinating state or national reform efforts including organizing and facilitating meetings, and other duties as assigned.  The Staff Attorney will think strategically about opportunities to advocate for child welfare and justice systems that are developmentally appropriate, racially equitable, and supportive of youth, families and communities.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until Friday, Jan. 11.  To apply, please go here.

On Dec. 1, Indigent Defense Services (IDS) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in Caswell, Person, Alamance, Orange, and Chatham counties.  The current contracts for adult noncapital criminal cases at the trial level and per session court cases in those districts will expire on May 31, 2019 and renew on June 1, 2019.  The RFP (RFP #16-0002R) seeks services for adult noncapital criminal cases at the trial level, juvenile delinquency, abuse/neglect/dependency and termination of parental rights, and treatment courts.  Please note that the RFP will not seek offers for potentially capital cases at the trial level, direct appeals or post-conviction cases.  Also, the juvenile delinquency RFP will only include Caswell, Alamance, and Person counties.  The deadline for electronic offers is Feb. 15.  To access the RFP, please check here.

Training

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

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.

reminder

That is our wrap-up for the first Friday of 2019!  Please check us out on Twitter and join us on the OJD Facebook page for other news and updates throughout the week and we will have more to come soon.

OJD Week in Review: Aug. 20 – 24

Happy Friday!  This another very light week, but we’ve got some new resources added and the same reminders for training registration deadlines that are approaching fast!

New Resource

There are three new resources added to the “Materials for Defenders” page.  Under the “Adolescent Brain Development” section, we’ve posted Dr. Cindy Cottle’s presentation from the Advocating for Youth Charged with First Degree Murder training titled Moving Forward: Advanced Concepts in Adolescent Brain Development.  Under the “Confessions” section, we’ve added the Juvenile Training Immersion Program’s Summary of Reid Interrogation Techniques.  Under the “Dispositions” section, you can now find Veronika Monteleone’s Disposition Worksheet.  All of these resources and more can be found here.

Training

Registration for the 2018 Misdemeanor Defender Training will at close 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30There will be no onsite registration.  The training will take place at the UNC-Chapel Hill campus from Sept. 18 – 21.  This event, cosponsored by the Office of Indigent Defense Services and the School of Government, will be an introductory program for attorneys who are new to handling misdemeanor cases and will offer 21.5 CLE credit hours, including one hour of ethics/professional responsibility credit and qualifies for criminal law specialization credit.  Attendees can expect sessions that will cover topics such as impaired driving, probation violations, ethical issues in district court, and much more.  The deadline for the hotel block will be Tuesday, Aug. 28.  The fee for privately assigned counsel will be $560, but the program will be free for IDS state employees.  There is a new online registration system being used that will require first-time users to create an account, but if any issues should arise, please contact registration@sog.unc.edu/919.966.4414 or check the FAQ page.  For further questions contact either Tanya Jisa or Phil Dixon,Jr.

Save the Date!  The Bridging The Gap III Seminar will be in Winston-Salem September 20-21, 2018.  Participants in this seminar will be awarded 10.25 CLE credit hours, including 1.5 credit hours in ethics, professional responsibility and professionalism.  The registration fee is $115.00.  The focus of this seminar will be on client and family relations, and pretrial resolution.  Registration and hotel information will be published in early July.  A block of 40 rooms will be available once the registration is published.  For an attorney to attend he or she must have at least 7 years’ experience.  The “ gap” in Bridging The Gap describes lawyers who have never taken murder cases and are considering taking them on, and lawyers who have taken non-capital murder cases and are considering taking capital cases.  The seminar, hosted by the Office of the Capital Defender, focuses on issues relevant to both non-capital and capital murder cases.  If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Terry Alford.

That sums it up for this week!  Have a great weekend, and hopefully there is more to come next week!

“Mothers: What Do They Know? And More Importantly, What Don’t They Know?” by Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh

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Forensic and clinical psychologist Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh has recently published an interesting new review on her website.

In the post, Dr. Kavanaugh analyzes and breaks down the psychological study from Caitlin Cavanagh and Elizabeth Cauffman titled “What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Them:  Mother’s Legal Knowledge and Youth Re-Offending“.  In their paper, the researchers examined the correlation between the involvement of mothers in their sons’ legal processes, the knowledge of the mothers in such matters, and the rates of re-offending.

Dr. Kavanaugh offers a satisfying and concise review of the data presented in this report.  In one section Kavanaugh writes, “More than half of the mothers also did not understand the expungement process.  The lack of understanding related to court personnel and the court process is something that many parties in the court system ranging from attorneys, to judges, to probation officers should address more efficaciously.”

She later writes, “Attorneys who represent children often describe the lengths they go to in order to get parents to understand how the child is their client, the types of legal decisions the client has to make, and the limits of the parents’ role.  I think it is reasonable to assume the lawyers involved in the cases in this study did this…  Additionally, the level of the mothers’ legal knowledge was also directly related to their sons’ likelihood of reoffending.  The more legal knowledge a mother had, the less likely her son was to reoffend…  Since [the mothers’] lack of understanding impacts public safety because it is associated with youths’ increased recidivism, the judiciary, probation officers, prosecutors and public defenders should want to increase mothers’ legal knowledge and are advised to gauge their knowledge at different points in the legal process.”

You can view Dr. Kavanaugh’s full review on her website here.  Also, please subscribe on the site to receive future posts from Dr. Kavanaugh directly to your inbox!