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.

“Introducing the 2017 Edition of the N.C. Juvenile Defender Manual” by Guest Blogger David Andrews

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Late last year, John Rubin of the UNC School of Government and I published the 2017 edition of the North Carolina Juvenile Defender Manual. This edition was three years in the making.  In addition, its publication coincided with a year-long initiative to commemorate the 50th anniversary of In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967), the Supreme Court decision that transformed the protections for juveniles in delinquency cases.

The new edition of the manual builds on the structure of the original 2008 edition and contains discussions of recent changes to the Juvenile Code, and analysis of case law from the past ten years. Here are some of the major changes to the manual:

  1. Appeals (Chapter 16): I handle juvenile delinquency appeals and so, naturally, one part of the manual that saw some significant changes was the chapter devoted to appeals. The primary change to this chapter involves a new section on transmitting appeals to the Appellate Defender, which is a process that is sometimes overlooked by attorneys, but can result in complications and delays. We also added new sections on appeals by the State and appeals involving the denial of a motion to suppress.
  1. Suppression Motions (Chapter 11): Prior to 2015, there were no procedures in the Juvenile Code for suppression motions. However, in 2015, the General Assembly enacted a law that provided specific procedures for suppression motions filed in juvenile delinquency cases. The new edition of the manual describes those procedures, as well as recent opinions on suppression issues, such as D.B. v. North Carolina, 564 U.S. 261 (2011), and State v. Saldierna, 369 N.C. 401 (2016).
  1. Registration of juveniles adjudicated delinquent for sex crimes (Chapter 13): The new edition of manual includes a lengthier discussion of state and federal registration requirements for juveniles adjudicated delinquent for certain sex crimes.
  1. Modifying dispositional orders (Chapter 13): The new edition of the manual provides an expanded discussion of motions in the cause under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2600 and a discussion of two recent cases that shed light on the criteria for modifying dispositional orders.
  1. The juvenile’s right to access records (Chapter 10): In the chapter on discovery, John and I included a section on the juvenile’s right to access the clerk’s records for cases involving the abuse, neglect, or dependency of the juvenile; DSS records of cases in which the juvenile is under placement by a court or has been placed under protective custody by DSS; and records concerning the juvenile that are maintained by law enforcement and the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice.
  1. Raise the age legislation (Chapter 19): As John and I neared completion of the manual, the General Assembly enacted legislation to raise the age of jurisdiction for juvenile delinquency cases from 15- to 17-years-old. John and I added a short chapter that discusses portions of the legislation that went into effect in December 2017. We also provided a link to a primer by LaToya Powell on the changes that take effect in December 2019.

We hope that juvenile defenders around the state find the new edition of the manual useful. If you have questions or comments about the manual, please send them to David Andrews at david.w.andrews@nccourts.org or John Rubin at rubin@sog.unc.edu.

 

David W. Andrews is an Assistant Appellate Defender in the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD), a division of the Office of Indigent Defense Services. OAD staff attorneys represent indigent clients in criminal, juvenile delinquency, and involuntary commitment appeals to the Court of Appeals of North Carolina and the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

From a Non-Lawyer Perspective: 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference Review by Marcus Thompson

On Friday, Aug. 11, juvenile defenders from across N.C. united at the U.N.C. School of Government for the 2017 Juvenile Defender Conference — and I had the honor of being among the 50+ attendees!  Only approaching my first full year as a part of the Juvenile Defender family, I was pretty excited to be able to attend this annual conference and observe juvenile defenders from various districts interact and share ideas and experiences from their time in juvenile court.  In my short time with the Office of the Juvenile Defender, I have  had the opportunity to learn about case law, the “lawyer lingo”, and other things, but this training was a great experience to not only refresh my memory of materials I’ve encountered before, but to also gain further insight into the juvenile justice system.

Program Attorney Austine Long started the event, welcoming everyone and encouraging defenders to offer suggestions for future training courses before introducing Martin Moore, assistant public defender of Buncombe County.

Moore discussed detention hearings, going over the types and culture of detention, secure custody and strategies for preparing for hearings.  Moore acknowledged that some areas of the state do not always follow their own guidelines for detention hearings.  “No one is in a better position to help the juvenile than themselves,” Moore said, emphasizing to attendees the importance of listening to the client and knowing as much as possible about their history, mental health state, and relationships when preparing for hearings.  When he posed a question to the audience about juveniles being placed in adult facilities for pre-adjudication secure custody (which violates G.S. 7B-1905), some defenders stated that this is often a result of juveniles having lied about their age, which initially surprised me.  I would have assumed in some cases it may have been the error of the police.  One participant also stated that juvenile defenders should ensure that juveniles’ info is redacted if they are placed in an adult facility for any reason.  On the topic of shackling during secure custody hearings, Moore also stated that it was “generally something we should argue against” and others concurred, pointing out the most effective argument with judges was that shackling a child would require more paperwork.  Towards the end of his presentation, Moore gave attendees a couple of hypothetical scenarios and allowed them to role play to demonstrate how they argue on behalf of a client in a detention hearing.

Following Moore, Mary Stansell, assistant public defender of Wake County, and Assistant Juvenile Defender Kim Howes presented on motions to suppress.  The pair addressed In re Gault, what qualifies as custodial interrogation, children’s understanding of their rights, and violations of 4th amendment rights.  Stansell and Howes stressed that a statement can’t be used against a child in custody unless a parent is there, but children believe that the “right to remain silent” means “until a cop asks a question”, most likely due to being naturally submissive to adults and intimidated by authority figures.  The cases of Saldierna and J.D.B. were also addressed while discussing juveniles’ voluntary waiver of rights.  Identification of juveniles in court and search and seizure were also brought up before attendees were broken out into groups to work on a case study.

After lunch was provided, Terri Johnson, an attorney from Statesville, took the lead to discuss capacity, covering statutes, cases, and how to handle evaluations and issues.  Johnson emphasized looking for indicators of capacity such as age, nature and location of the offense, language barriers and a history of social, mental, or physical health issues.  She also talked about finding experts to evaluate a client’s capacity to proceed in court and common arguments made by assistant district attorneys and juvenile court counselors.  One common argument was that juveniles were manipulative and would lie simply to avoid getting into trouble.  Johnson also said that sometimes judges will commit juveniles due to lack of options or because they believe that just putting juveniles on probation will get them the mental health treatment that they need.  Having no interactions with the legal system in my teenage years beyond a couple of traffic violations, it was kind of disheartening to hear that this was the way people, especially kids with various problems, were perceived and treated in the courts.

Once Johnson finished her segment, LaToya Powell, assistant professor of public law and government for the U.N.C. School of Government, arrived to discuss updates to juvenile law in the past year.   I was very familiar with all of the cases that Powell discussed, having read her opinions and writing case summaries for our office, but the review of these cases was welcomed.  Powell succinctly summarized many of the most impactful cases, including Saldierna, T.K.D.E.P.  and the recent Raise the Age legislation.  While addressing Saldierna, Powell stated that a juvenile cannot waive the right to have a parent or attorney present during questioning due to special protections provided under General Statute 7B-2101.  After reviewing the whole series of decisions from SaldiernaPowell also noted that as of Aug. 3rd, the State had filed a motion for temporary stay on the case.  Once she summarized some of the other recent appellate court decisions, Powell went on to discuss the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, pointing out the benefits to everyone involved in the juvenile justice system, but also addressing some potential issues with the new laws, such as conflicting terms in the new gang suppression section with current criminal gang suppression rules.

Finally, James Drennan, adjunct and former Albert Coates professor for the U.N.C. School of Government, took the podium to lead the ethics portion of the training.  This part of the training was more like the psychology/philosophy class I wish I had during my college years and was applicable not only to juvenile defense, but all professions.  Drennan discussed implicit biases, which he said exists “in all of us.  No one is immune to it.”

“There is an elemental, primal need to feel like you are being treated fairly,” Drennan said after showing a video of two monkeys being rewarded, one with grapes and the other with cucumbers (resulting in its frustration) for performing the same task.  He shared statistics and reports that showed fairness is what is most desired in our court system by people, but more people from various backgrounds perceive the justice system as unfair to minorities.

Drennan also engaged attendees in several exercises to test their perception, demonstrating our fast-thinking and slow-thinking processes and how our intuitive feelings and programming from a young age affects our judgment.   Drennan spoke about how his own southern upbringing taught him to accept racial disparities as a norm and certain behaviors were maligned by the society he grew up in, and despite his life experiences, these ideas instilled in him from his youth still linger, unable to be unlearned.  He also said that controlling our fast-thinking processes when interacting with new groups or individuals and observing the patterns in our decision-making processes are important to help us to avoid our own prejudices.

Every presentation was engaging and surprisingly easy to follow, even for someone like myself, without a background in law.  While I’ve only observed a few juvenile court cases, it was good to know how other defenders prepare to present their juveniles’ cases and what must be considered prior to going in front of the judge.  It also provided clarity for me about the challenges from all sides that juvenile defenders must deal with inside and outside the courtroom.  It was also great being able to put more faces to the names I’ve seen in the past few months.  After this first year, I look forward to the 2018 Juvenile Defender Conference, and I hope to hear from and see more of the front line defenders.

If you missed the conference or would just like to review the presentations, you can find a copy of the course materials with additional references here.