OJD Week in Review: June 3 – 7

Happy Friday once again!  This week there are the normal reminders along with a new tip and one other announcement….

Monique WilliamsIntroducing…

We are proud to officially introduce the newest member of the OJD team, Project Attorney Monique Williams.  Coming from the Pitt County Public Defender Office, Monique joined the OJD team earlier this year to help facilitate OJD’s State Enhancement Program.  As project attorney, she has collaborated with the National Juvenile Defender Center to coordinate our recent Juvenile Training Immersion Program training, completed extensive investigations of juvenile courts in multiple counties, collected data, and devised new training to prepare N.C. juvenile defenders for the full implementation of Raise the Age.  Please welcome Monique and check out her bio on our website here.

 

Tip of the Week – Intake and Non-divertible

Did you know that if your client is accused of a non-divertible offense, then the juvenile court counselor is not supposed to conduct an intake interview? N.C.G.S. §7B-1701 states that once it has been determined that the complaint meets legal sufficiency and there are reasonable grounds to believe the juvenile has committed the offense, “[T]he juvenile court counselor, without further inquiry, shall authorize the complaint to be filed as a petition.” Non-divertible offenses include:

  • murder,
  • 1st or 2nd degree rape,
  • 1st or 2nd degree sex offense,
  • Arson,
  • Chapter 90 offenses that would be a felony if committed by an adult,
  • 1st degree burglary,
  • Crime against Nature; or
  • Any felony involving willful infliction of serious bodily injury or was committed by use of a deadly weapon.

This means that the court counselor should not be meeting with your client, recommending any evaluations (especially sex offender specific evaluations) prior to the approval and filing of the petitions.

Job and Fellowship Opportunities

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) is currently seeking an executive director.  The executive director will be responsible for fundraising, strategic planning, communicating with board members and supervising staff, and ensuring that the organization adheres to its intersectional and anti-racist practices and principles in its internal operations.  The deadline to apply for this position will be June 21.  To see the full job description, please go here.  To apply or if you have questions, please contact NJJN here.

Training

The required pre-registration deadline for the 2019 Summer Criminal Law Update Webinar will be 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 5.  This webinar, which will take place on June 7 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., 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 John Rubin and Phil Dixon will discuss a wide range of issues affecting felony and misdemeanor cases in the North Carolina state courts.  The webinar, broadcast live from the School of Government, includes a dynamic visual presentation, live audio, and interactive Q&A.  This webinar is open to public defenders, private attorneys who handle or are interested in pursuing indigent criminal defense work, and other court personnel who handle criminal cases.  The webinar will offer 1.5 hours of CLE credit and qualifies for N.C. State Bar criminal law specialization credit.  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, thanks to support from the Office of Indigent Defense Services.  If you have questions related to webinar content, please contact John Rubin at 919.962.2498 or rubin@sog.unc.edu.  If you have questions about logistics, please Jessica O’Sullivan at 919.962.9754 or josullivan@sog.unc.edu.

Please save the dates for the 2019 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender conferences.  The Parent Attorney Conference will be held Thursday, Aug. 8 and the Juvenile Defender Conference will be held Friday, Aug. 9.  Both conferences, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, and offer approximately six hours of CLE credit.  The Parent Attorney Conference provides training for attorneys, who represent parents in abuse, neglect, dependency, and termination of parental rights proceedings.  The Juvenile Defender Conference provides training for attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings.  If you have any questions, please contact Program Manager Kate Jennings, or if you have questions about the course content, please contact Program Attorney Austine Long.

The online registration deadline for the 2019 Defender Trial School, cosponsored by the School of Government and the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be June 25.  The event will be held Monday, July 8, through Friday, July 12, 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 roughly 29 hours of general CLE 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.  IDS has expanded the number of fellowships available to cover the registration fee, but please note there is a limited number of fellowships.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please email Kate Jennings or Professor John Rubin or call 919-962-3287/919-962-2498.  To register, find a fellowship application, see the agenda, or find any other information, please check out the course page here.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR)‘s Youth in Custody Certificate Program will be held July 22 – 26 at Georgetown University in partnership with Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.  This training is designed to help juvenile justice system leaders and partners improve outcomes for youth in custodial settings, covering critical areas including racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, reentry planning and support, and culture change.

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That closes this week.  Please make sure to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already and head over to Twitter and Facebook, like and follow us!  Also, N.C. juvenile defenders, please contact us to have your contact info added to/removed from our listserv.  And for people already practicing law, please visit the N.C. State Bar Legal Specialization page if you are interested in specializing in juvenile defense and get your application in before July 2!  We would love for you to join our N.C. juvenile defender family.  Enjoy weekend.

OJD Week in Review: May 13 – 17

Happy Friday!  This week we’ve got quite a few new nuggets to share.  There is a new resource from NJDC worth noting, a webinar offering CLE credit, and a training in Rutherford from OJD.  Also, check out the new tip of the week and reminders from the previous weeks.

We also want to bring attention to yesterday’s post regarding the Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) hosted last month in conjunction with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) at North Carolina Central University.  JTIP was one of the first steps in OJD’s strategic plan to address changes that can/will come as a result of Raise the Age.  Please read the full post here if you have not had a chance to yet!

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Group photo of new N.C. regional trainers and NJDC JTIP trainers.

Tip of the Week – Suppression

Suppression motions aren’t often used in the District Court setting (outside DWI cases), however juvenile court offers many opportunities for suppression.  The juvenile code outlines the procedure for filing a motion to suppress (§7B-2408.5) and it may be made either in writing before the adjudicatory hearing or orally during the hearing.  Consider whether or not your client’s statement or identifications may be subject to suppression.  Remember – “in custody” is an objective test!  The test is whether a “reasonable juvenile” in the position of the respondent would believe him/herself to be in custody OR that s/he had been deprived of freedom of action in some significant way, and is not based on the subjective intent of the interrogator or the perception of the person under questioning.  That means if your client is in the principal’s office and the SRO is standing in front of the door, would your client feel free to leave?

Job and Fellowship Opportunity

Today is the last day to submit your application for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR)’s mitigation specialist positions in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  The mitigation specialists will be responsible for the investigation and development of competent, thorough, and quality mitigation in accordance with statewide performance standards, the American Bar Association Guidelines, and national best practices.  To apply, please check here to apply for the New Orleans position and here to apply for the Baton Rouge opening.

The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NCCRED) has an opening for a new Executive Director.  The Executive Director will provide leadership and manage all aspects of the organization, including coordinating and filing reports, developing relationships with potential partners, promoting and developing research on racial disparities, and supervising interns and contract staff.  The ideal candidate will have a passion for racial justice, experience in criminal justice reform and all aspects of nonprofit organizational management, excellent communication skills and comfort with managing conflict.  Please find the full job description here.  To apply please submit resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to James E. Williams, Jr., by SaturdayJune 1.  Please include email subject line “NCCRED Director Position.”

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The Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office is currently seeking a new assistant public defender.  The selected candidate will represent indigent clients charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses and will be expected to analyze laws, facts, written documents, conduct legal research, develop litigation strategies.   For the full job description and to apply, please go here.

Training

On Monday, May 20, OJD will be hosting a Juvenile Court Basics Training in Rutherfordton.  The training will take place at the Rutherford County Courthouse from 2 – 4 p.m. and has already been approved for 2 general CLE credit hours.  Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry will be discussing topics such as how to talk to juvenile clients, dispositions, appeals, and more.  Please call our office at 919-890-1650 if you have questions regarding the training or email Marcus Thompson.

Registration is now open for the 2019 Summer Criminal Law Update Webinar which will take place June 7 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.  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 John Rubin and Phil Dixon will discuss a wide range of issues affecting felony and misdemeanor cases in the North Carolina state courts.  The webinar, broadcast live from the School of Government, includes a dynamic visual presentation, live audio, and interactive Q&A.  This webinar is open to public defenders, private attorneys who handle or are interested in pursuing indigent criminal defense work, and other court personnel who handle criminal cases.  Please note that pre-registration is required and the deadline to register will be 5 p.m., June 5.  The webinar will offer 1.5 hours of CLE credit and qualifies for N.C. State Bar criminal law specialization credit.  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, thanks to support from the Office of Indigent Defense Services.  If you have questions related to webinar content, please contact John Rubin at 919.962.2498 or rubin@sog.unc.edu.  If you have questions about logistics, please Jessica O’Sullivan at 919.962.9754 or josullivan@sog.unc.edu.

TRAINING--DEVELOPMENT

Please save the dates for the 2019 Parent Attorney and Juvenile Defender Conferences.  The Parent Attorney Conference will be held Thursday, August 8 and the Juvenile Defender Conference will be held Friday, August 9.  Both conferences, cosponsored by the School of Government and the Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be held at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, and offer approximately six hours of CLE credit.  The Parent Attorney Conference provides training for attorneys, who represent parents in abuse, neglect, dependency, and termination of parental rights proceedings.  The Juvenile Defender Conference provides training for attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings.  If you have any questions, please contact Program Manager Kate Jennings, or if you have questions about the course content, please contact Program Attorney Austine Long.

The online registration deadline for the 2019 Defender Trial School, cosponsored by the School of Government and the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, will be June 25.  The event will be held Monday, July 8, through Friday, July 12, 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 roughly 29 hours of general CLE 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.  IDS has expanded the number of fellowships available to cover the registration fee, but please note there is a limited number of fellowships.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please email Kate Jennings or Professor John Rubin or call 919-962-3287/919-962-2498.  To register, find a fellowship application, see the agenda, or find any other information, please check out the course page here.

The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR)‘s Youth in Custody Certificate Program will be held July 22 – 26 at Georgetown University in partnership with Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.  This training is designed to help juvenile justice system leaders and partners improve outcomes for youth in custodial settings, covering critical areas including racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, reentry planning and support, and culture change.

New Resource

To commemorate the 52nd Anniversary of In re Gault this week, the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) is pleased to share a new resource, Making the Case for Young Clients: Supreme Court Quotes for Bolstering Juvenile Defense Advocacy.  Language shapes every defense.  And the United States Supreme Court has issued numerous opinions with language that supports the unique advocacy required for defending youth in juvenile delinquency proceedings.  From recognizing that youth are more susceptible to coercion during an interrogation to reinforcing the principle that youth are constitutionally different from adults, the Supreme Court has boldly delineated the rights and obligations due to young people.  This resource is filled with language from opinions spanning several decades and is accessible online here.

Also, please note that the application period for specialization in juvenile defense started on the 1st of this month and continues until July 2!  If you know someone or if you yourself are interested in specializing in the juvenile defense arena, please visit the N.C. State Bar Legal Specialization page.

That’s our wrap-up for this week.  Please make sure to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already and head over to Twitter and Facebook, like and follow us!  Also, N.C. juvenile defenders, please contact us to be added to our listserv.  Have a great weekend.

OJD and NJDC Host Training to Prepare for Raising the Age

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NJDC’s Amanda Powell engages in discussion with trainees

With Raise the Age’s full implementation now only several months away, OJD has been diligent in rolling out its North Carolina Juvenile Defender State Enhancement Program (SEP).  As part of this initiative, from Apr. 24 – 26 the Office of Juvenile Defender (OJD) partnered with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) to teach 10 dedicated N.C. juvenile defense attorneys NJDC’s Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP).

During the three-day training program, three NJDC trainers engaged juvenile defenders in various hands-on activities and discussions in preparation to be effective regional trainers of other defenders across the state.  Discussions ranged from the difficulties of representing juveniles to cultivating showmanship and employing adult learning theory.  Defenders were also put into pairs and small groups for some activities to encourage collaboration.

As one of the first pieces in the SEP project, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the purpose of JTIP was to allow OJD to offer more quality training to defenders statewide, while also providing more support from defenders who practice in the communities and regions they will train in.  JTIP is meant specifically for trainer presentation, but does not offer substantive training on the new law.

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NJDC’s Amanda Powell discusses showmanship.

Also as a result of the OJJDP grant, Project Attorney Monique Williams joined the OJD team earlier this year.  As project attorney, she has done extensive investigations of juvenile courts in multiple counties, collected data, and devised new training to prepare N.C. juvenile defenders for the full implementation of Raise the Age.

“The JTIP training was absolutely the highlight of my tenure here as the Project Attorney for the OJJDP grant,” said Williams.  “I was able to sit in on some of the sessions, and the vast materials and concepts imparted by NJDC to our N.C. attorneys will not only enhance their instructional facilitation skills, but their practice skills as well.  I am certain that juvenile advocates across the state of N.C. will be educated and empowered by the content that will be shared with them in the coming future, and I am excited to see the positive impact in representation for our clients.”

Dorothy Hairston Mitchell, assistant clinical professor of law and supervising attorney of the Juvenile Law Clinic at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), was among the 10 participants selected for the program.  Mitchell and other members of NCCU’s staff were instrumental in assisting with preparations for the training.

“[North Carolina Central University] was so excited to host this training and the collaboration, working with Monique and everybody, was phenomenal,” Mitchell said.  “As a participant, I thought it was also phenomenal…  Really well put together.  I appreciated the way that they grouped us, they had us partnered up and, at least for my partner, I think we were perfectly paired.  And all of the people in our group, it seemed like everyone felt the same way…  I have not been to too many trainings where I come out like ‘Oh, my God, every single moment was just great!’, and this was one of them.”

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From right to left: NJDC’s Kristina Kersey, Tim Curry and Amanda Powell, and OJD’s Monique Williams

Although JTIP offers a more intensive 40-lesson program that spans multiple weeks, NJDC agreed to condense the training for the N.C. attorneys, providing them with the additional information, but simplifying the presentation to fit the three-day window.  Mitchell also stated that she was interested in learning more, saying that while she appreciated the experience, extending the training would have been the only thing she would have changed.  “It was very intense the way it was, but I would’ve appreciated [the longer training].  It was so good, that I had a longing for what we didn’t get.”

With JTIP now completed, the next steps in the SEP are to provide the regional and local trainings and follow up with trainers for future site visits.  Williams will also conduct further court observations, post-training evaluations, and surveys to help OJD assess what areas juvenile defenders may need more training in following Raise the Age’s full implementation.

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Group photo of new N.C. regional trainers and NJDC JTIP trainers.

 

 

OJD Week in Review: Feb. 25 – Mar. 1

Happy First Friday!  This week in addition to our new tip and training reminders, we want to bring attention to a blog post about Raise the Age from the School of Government and a new addition to our sidebar here on the website (if you haven’t already noticed!).

Also, for those juvenile defense attorneys who are currently not on our listserv, please contact Marcus Thompson so that you can be added and get all of the latest updates on our resources, upcoming training, and more!

Tip of the Week – Why Separate Probable Cause and Adjudicatory Hearings?

A probable cause hearing determines whether there is probable cause to believe that the offense charged has been committed, and that the juvenile charged committed it.  But what if the court finds probable cause for a lesser offense?  The court must hold a separate adjudicatory hearing.  Why?  Probable cause hearings and adjudicatory hearings have separate burdens of proof, are governed by different rules of evidence, and result in different legal outcomes.  Note that this rule also applies to transfer hearings when the court decides not to transfer a juvenile to superior court.

Call to Action!

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North Carolina is in need of dedicated defenders today!  With the expected increase of juvenile defense cases following the full implementation of Raise the Age, North Carolina’s juvenile defender community will be in need of quality juvenile defense attorneys.  We want to encourage attorneys with a passion for protecting our most vulnerable populations, whether you possess decades of experience or you’ve been practicing for just over five years, to consider specializing now.  We also want attorneys fresh out of law school and those currently in law school to plan to take the specialization exam later in their career.  For details on specializing in North Carolina, please check out the link here (links also available on the sidebar).  Applications for the specialization exam with the N.C. State Bar should be open between May and July this year.  For additional resources and information about specializing, please check out the National Juvenile Defender Center’s page here.

From Around the Community

From the “On the Civil Side” blog, Jacqui Greene has published a new post regarding Raise the Age.  In this blog, Greene breaks down the recommendations from the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee’s latest report.  Please take a moment to read her post here.

RTA

Training

Registration for the “2019 Regional Training for Indigent Defense: Special Issues in Felony Cases” is now open to IDS contract attorneys and to privately assigned counsel representing indigent clients.  The training will focus on special issues in felony cases and include a two hour session on gangs.  The Regional Training will be held on Thursday, March 21 at the East Carolina Heart Institute (ECHI) at ECU, located at 115 Heart Drive, Greenville, NC 27834.  The training will take place in the Conference Room beginning at 12:45 p.m.  Free parking is available in the visitor lots adjacent to ECHI as well as the Family Medicine building next door.  Refreshments will be provided.  To register and to find additional program information, visit their course page here.  The registration deadline for the Regional Training is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 18.  The registration fee is $95.00, which includes materials, CLE credit, and snacks.  The training will offer 3.0 hours of general CLE credit.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Program Attorney, Austine Long at along@sog.unc.edu or 919.962.9594 or Program Manager, Tanya Jisa at jisa@sog.unc.edu or 919.843.8981.

On March 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., the UNC School of Government (SOG) will be hosting the first North Carolina Criminal Justice Summit in the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Club.  The Summit will be lead by SOG’s own Professor of Public Law and Government Jessica Smith and will feature national and state experts with broad-ranging ideological perspectives who will discuss key issues capturing attention in North Carolina and around the nation, including bail reform, overcriminalization, and barriers to re-entry, such as fines and fees, the criminal record, and collateral consequences.  Join the conversation as they explore how these issues impact justice, public safety and economic prosperity in North Carolina, and whether there is common ground to address them.  This event will be free to attend, lunch will be provided, and it offers 5 hours of CJE and free CLE credit.  Attendees are responsible for their travel expenses, including a $14 event parking fee.  For those arriving the night before, state rate and discounted rooms at local hotels will be available.  For more details, please visit here.

This concludes the news for the final week of February.  Please check us out on OJD’s Twitter and Facebook for posts throughout the week.

Duke Law Hosts JLWOP Panel

JLWOP Panel

On Monday, Feb. 11, the Duke Criminal Law Society and Duke Law Professor Brandon L. Garrett (pictured speaking at the lectern stand on the right) hosted a panel discussion regarding their newest study, “Juvenile Life Without Parole in North Carolina.”  The panel featured (seated from left to right) David Andrews of the Office of Appellate DefenderBen Finholt of N.C. Prisoner Legal Services,  and N.C. State Representative Pricey Harrison.

The event opened with an introduction of the panel by Garrett, before panelists presented their own perspectives on the issue of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) and the study released by Garrett and his colleagues.

Harrison emphasized the negative economic impact JLWOP has on N.C.  She reinforced the argument that juveniles could contribute much more to society if given the opportunity to get an education and job, rather than being held in a facility on hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for a lifetime.

Finholt pointed out the State’s abuse of JLWOP.  “So far, as far as we know with the data we have, there has not been a single JLWOP resentencing hearing where the option of LWOP was on the table and the State has consented to taking it off the table,” he said.  “In every single resentencing hearing where LWOP is an option, the State has sought LWOP.  Every single time.  And I don’t think that matches what the U.S. Supreme Court has told us is supposed to happen in Roper, Graham, Miller, Montgomery.  I think in the whole line, it’s pretty clear that this should be rare.  This should only be used in exceptionally bad circumstances, and I think that is generally the way it has not been handled.”

Andrews also touched on Miller and its implications, disproportionate minority contact, and reform.

“When we talk about juvenile life without parole, we are talking about Miller v. Alabama,” Andrews said.  “What I love about this report that we have now, from Professor Garrett and all the other authors, is that it gives us perspective…  What’s interesting to me is that there is a disproportionate impact that this sentence has on race.  Children of color, these are the individuals who get LWOP.  There is a disproportionate impact on children of color.  We also know from the report that once a county imposes JLWOP, it is more likely to impose that sentence again.  It becomes entrenched.”

Andrews said from the perspective of trial attorneys dealing with JLWOP cases, they should pursue school records, interviews with family members, DSS records, and experts in fields such as adolescent brain science to dissuade a judge from sentencing a child to LWOP.

Andrews posed the question that really hit the core of the issue at hand, asking “Do we really want to sentence kids to die in prison?”

After every panelist had the opportunity to speak and before engaging in a question and answer session with members of the audience, Garrett reiterated the issue.  He pointed out that in the study, one-third of the individuals sentenced to LWOP were not the killers or had no intent to kill, but were convicted under a felony murder theory.

In response to one question about the discussions between legislators regarding juvenile justice, Harrison stated, “There are legislators who are considering continued reforms.  I know that many of us felt like Raise the Age… was an important first step and it took us nearly 15 years to really get on that.  It still needs work and I think that there are legislators interested in that and other juvenile justice issues…  There’s a lot going on.  It’s a different climate right now, but it is a little more conducive to making some of these improvements.”

In regards to Raise the Age and the impact he thought this study could potentially have on possible reforms going forward, Garrett said, “To kind of fix that you need to solve this juvenile life without parole problem.  In some ways it’s about the past.  And I think fixing that problem is a money-saver, but also highlights this moral issue that there should be a possibility of redemption, of rehabilitation for all juvenile sentences…  In some ways it’s a completely different question to Raise the Age.  It’s not about adult court versus juvenile court.  It’s just that there should be meaningful review for long juvenile sentences, no matter what the circumstances.  I think that it’s just a sensible position for the State to have.  It’s the right moral position, it follows the science of juvenile brain development, and it’s not inflexible.”

Garrett stated that the JLWOP study was just one of the projects he and his students were working on, including a traffic court study, parole, and non-juvenile life without parole.  He said this just happened to be one of the first they presented publicly.  To read the report and more from Duke Law’s JustScience Lab, please go here.

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.

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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.