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.

OJD Week in Review: Feb. 4 – 8

Salutations and thank you for joining us again!  This week, in addition to the invaluable Tip of the Week and necessary reminders, we’ve got a new job posting.  Also, please note that many deadlines job applications and event dates are approaching within the next week!

Tip of the Week – Calculations Matter

Make sure you calculate your client’s delinquency history correctly.  It is reversible error if you do not advise your client of the most serious disposition s/he is exposed to (even if everyone agrees to a lower dispositional level).  Feel free to use the disposition chart and prior record scoring sheet available here on our website.

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From Around the Community

On Monday, Feb. 11, at 12:30 p.m., Duke Law School Professor Brandon L. Garrett and the Duke Criminal Law Society will be presenting and releasing their newest study, “Juvenile Life Without Parole in North Carolina”.  Garrett was awarded a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to study evidence to inform criminal justice policy.  Through his research, Garrett prepared a report and will be sharing his findings with all attorneys working on juvenile cases at this event.  For further information, please direct questions to Callie Thomas.

Job Opportunities

National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is currently looking to fill a position for a Principal Court Management Consultant that would be based in one of NCSC’s offices (Denver, CO; Arlington, VA, or HQ in Williamsburg, VA), or possibly teleworking when not traveling.  NCSC is expanding its staff devoted to family and children’s issues and is hoping to get candidates with juvenile justice experience for this position.  To apply and see more details about this position, please check here.  The deadline for applications will be Friday, Feb. 15.

The deadline for electronic offers for the Office of Indigent Defense Services‘ Request for Proposals in Caswell, Person, Alamance, Orange, and Chatham counties will be Friday, Feb. 15.  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 and renew on June 1.  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.  To access the RFP, please check here.

Training

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.  To apply for this course and find more details, please visit here.  Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance no later than Friday, Feb. 15th.

The Office of the Juvenile Defender will be hosting a Juvenile Court Basics CLE on Feb. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse.  Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes will be discussing the role of counsel, how to communicate with juvenile clients, dispositions, capacity, appeals, and so much more.  Questions and concerns are welcome.  Three general CLE credit hours are currently pending for this training.   Please contact Marcus Thompson by email or call 919-890-1650 if you have questions.

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.

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That wraps up this week.  There should be more to come next Friday, but in the meantime, check out OJD’s Twitter and Facebook for posts throughout the week.

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: Nov. 6-10

This week we’ve got a few new resources and updates for you, just in case you haven’t already got them in your own inbox.

In the Week Behind Us

Last week the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice released a report titled “Developmental Reform in Juvenile Justice: Translating the Science of Adolescent Development to Sustainable Best Practice“.  This report is designed to assist local- and state-level organizations with incorporating “adolescent development research into their efforts to maximize improved and sustainable youth outcomes and system performance.”

Wake U

Also last week, NCCRED in collaboration with the Wake Forest University School of Law and Justice Program, the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy and the Wake Forest University Rethinking Community series held its Community Policing Symposium on Nov. 3.  The event featured a virtual lecture, a video presentation, and several discussions on how to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  The summary for the event can be read here.

 

Lots of NJJN News

First in National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) news, we wanted to notify everyone that NJJN has  released a call to action to combat racism.  In their statement, NJJN acknowledges efforts in America’s history for civil rights and addresses the shortcomings of the juvenile justice system, particularly for youth of color, but also pointing out the marginalization of LGBTQI youth, children with disabilities and others.  NJJN also asks juvenile justice advocates to evaluate how we have approached racial injustice, to identify leadership, and  ask how we are held accountable.  Please take a moment to read the full article, which can be found here.

Secondly, NJJN has launched a campaign offering recommendations to improve relationships between police and youth of color.  They have a page on their website with a downloadable PDF with data and suggestions for distribution, and a press release template to help groups and individual advocates spread the word and get others involved.

Finally, NJJN has also announced that the Youth Justice Project will be hosting the #NJJNForum2018 in Durham.  This forum will celebrate the passage of Raise the Age in North Carolina and address much-needed reforms, such as eliminating collateral consequences, remedying racial and gender disparities, better access to defense for youth, and stemming the tide of referrals from schools to courts.  Currently, the organizations are seeking volunteers to join the Forum Planning Committee.  Please email Alyson Clements for more details.

Police Platform

More Useful Info

Earlier this week, the North Carolina Bar Association published an article by Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry about the National Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit.  In his writing, Zogry gives a brief account of his experience during the 21st annual conference.  You can read his article here and check out the NJDC page for more info on the Summit.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has created a chart, offering a visual display of data released from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  The data shows the declining rates of adjudicated youth  from 2006-2015, by state.  You can see the chart here.

From the On the Civil Side blog, Professor LaToya Powell’s has a new entry, “The Juvenile Court Counselor’s Role As Gatekeeper.”  You can read Professor Powell’s latest post here.

…and a Final Reminder

We also want to offer one final reminder that the Center for Death Penalty Litigation will be closing applications for its new staff attorney position on Monday, November 13.  You can view the full details about this position and how to apply here.

That is all for now.  We hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Veteran’s Day and there is more to come soon, so be sure to check back with us!

OJD Week In Review: Oct. 23-27

ICYMI

Last weekend, from Oct. 20-22, the National Juvenile Defender Center held its 21st Annual Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit in Albuquerque, NM.

During this year’s Summit, topics included challenging the use of electronic monitoring in juvenile court, the impact of social media, acquiring discovery, unfair fines and fees imposed on youth and their families, expunction, and education advocacy.  N.C. Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry also joined a panel alongside Joshua Dohan, director of the Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Massachusetts, and Devon Lee, legal counsel for the Office of the State Public Defender in Wisconsin, to discuss the challenges and successes of juvenile defense systems in different states.

Other faculty attending the conference included Teayra Turner, project associate at the National Juvenile Defender Center, Richard Ross, a photographer, researcher and Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of CaliforniaRandee Waldman, director of the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic at Emory University School of Law, and Justice Barbara Vigil of the New Mexico Supreme Court, among many others.  Please find the full list of materials, publications, and other resources from the event here.

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Useful Tidbits

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a new special report on “Federal Prosecution of Commercial Exploitation of Children.”  This report examines cases prosecuted in the federal criminal court system between 2004 to 2013 and includes offenses related to the possession and production of child pornography and child sex trafficking.

The National Juvenile Justice Network has released a new policy platform which provides recommendations on improving relationships between law enforcement and youth of color.  The recommendations in this document include ending the militarization of law enforcement, racial profiling, and policies on use of force.  The full article can be found here.

SYJ

Strategies for Youth (SFY) has provided two new resources in its October newsletter.  The first of these resources, “The Parent Checklist“, is a tool that has been updated to address how school resource officers (SRO) are trained to handle and informed of the conditions of students with special needs and children with immigrant status.  The checklist also has sections to evaluate how parents are notified of complaints against their child, how resource officers are trained, the working agreements between law enforcement and schools, and SROs’ relationships with school faculty.  The second resource, “Be Her Resource“, is actually only referenced by SFY, but created by the National Black Women’s Justice Institute and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality.  “Be Her Resource” offers insights into the disproportionate contact between for girls of color and law enforcement in schools.

Last Chances and New Opps

We also want to offer one final reminder that applications for the NJDC Gault Fellowship are due on Monday, Oct. 30.  Tell any recent law school graduates you know to hurry and get those references, resumes, and cover letters polished!  The full details for how to apply can be found here.

NJDC has also distributed info for an opening for a full-time training chief with the Massachusetts-based Committee for Public Counsel and an opening for an assistant public defender for juvenile delinquency in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.  The deadline for applications are Nov. 6 and Nov. 13, respectively.

Those are all of the updates we have for now, but we will be providing more news and activities on next week.  Have a great weekend!

OJD Week in Review: Oct. 16-20

This week we’ve got a few new resources for you, a panel discussion, and a declaration from the governor’s office we had to include.

Quick Reminder

Firstly, we’d like to remind everyone of the approaching deadlines for a couple of job opportunities we’ve previously mentioned.  Applications for the NJDC Gault Fellowship are due Monday, Oct. 30.  Also, applications for North Carolina Judicial Fellowship‘s two associate counsel positions are due by 5 p.m. today, and applications for the six (6) two-year fellowships starting August 2018 will close on Nov. 3.  Hurry and spread the word or apply if you are interested!

The National Juvenile Justice Network has also posted an opening for a 2018 Fall internship.  The full details for this unpaid internship can be found here.

And moving on to this week’s news…

On last Friday, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper declared Oct. 15-21 “Juvenile Justice Week” (among other things).  In his proclamation (which can be read here), Governor Cooper acknowledges the milestones achieved by the Juvenile Justice Section of the Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice, including the decline of the juvenile crime rate and passing of Raise the Age.

AtlanticOn Tuesday, Juvenile Defender Eric Zogry joined Ricky Watson, Jr., co-director of the Youth Justice Project, and District Court Judge Louis Trosch, Jr., co-chair of Race Matters of Juvenile Justice and judge for the 26th judicial circuit, on a live panel with The Atlantic‘s Assistant Editor (now to promoted Managing Editor as of this post) Adrienne Green to discuss juvenile justice reform and racial disparities.  In the video, the panel touches on school-justice partnerships, acknowledging implicit biases, and expectations for Raise the Age.  You can view the video here.

From the On the Civil Side blog, Professor LaToya Powell offers some insights on capacity.  In the latest post, titled “Incapacity to Proceed and Juveniles“, Powell breaks down the requirements for a juvenile to be determined capable of proceeding.

The Sentencing Project has also released two new fact sheets, “Native Disparities in Youth Incarceration” and “Latino Disparities in Youth Incarceration“, which offer quick statistics on the disparities between juvenile placements of youth of these ethnic groups and their Caucasian peers.  These fact sheets can be paired with the “Black Disparities in Youth Incarceration” fact sheet released back in September.

NJJN image

You should also check out the National Juvenile Justice Network’s latest newsletter when you find the time.  NJJN has several new articles, including one discussing Texas’ plans for juvenile justice reform, ways to participate in Youth Justice Action Month, and recognizing implicit bias, just to name a few.  The toolkit for changing harmful media narratives about youth of color that we mentioned last week can also be found in their newsletter.

That is all for this week, folks.  We hope that it has been a great Juvenile Justice Week for everyone.  If there is anything you would like to share about your experience during Youth Justice Action Month, please let the N.C. Juvenile Defender community know on Facebook or here on our blog!

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

Image result for juvenile detention center nc

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.