OJD Week in Review: May 27 – 31

Happy Friday, Juvenile Defender Community!  This week we’ve got a new job post along with previously posted jobs that are closing this weekend, a new tip, and reminders for upcoming training.  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!

Tip of the Week – Building Trust

Investing time is the single most important strategy for building trust and rapport with your client.  You need to listen and ask questions without judgment, and explain why you need to ask certain questions.  Allow your client the opportunity, and encourage him/her to ask questions as well.  Be sure to explain to your client how your role is different from other adults s/he has interacted with (i.e. attorney/client privilege).  And most importantly – never make a promise you can’t keep.  If you say you’re going to do something – do it!

Job and Fellowship Opportunities

Tomorrow will be the last day to apply for the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NCCRED) executive director position!  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.  Please include email subject line “NCCRED Director Position.”

The deadline to apply for the staff attorney position at the Office of the Appellate Division Staff of the North Carolina Court of Appeals is Sunday, June 2.  The duties of the staff attorney will include reviewing appeals, preparing memorandums for the Court, summarizing and recommending disposition of petitions for prerogative writs and more.  The ideal candidate will have experience conducting legal research and analysis and drafting appellate opinions and knowledge of N.C. General Statutes, N.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals case law and some federal statutes and case law.  To apply and find the full job description, please go here.

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.

IGotTheJob

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.

porkypig

That’s all for this last week of May, folks!  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.  Have a great weekend.

OJD Week In Review: Oct. 30 – Nov. 3

We hope everyone had a great Halloween, and this week we’ve got a few new updates to resources, training info, and reminders for you.

A Few Treats and (Possibly New) Tricks You Can Use

Never too old

The Youth Justice Project has released a new report titled “Putting Justice in North Carolina’s Juvenile System”.  This report points out areas in which North Carolina’s juvenile justice system is failing youth, especially youth of color.  The  report identifies five major barriers that are hindering the N.C. juvenile justice system, including one which sites inadequate resources for OJD.  You can read the report here.

The W. Haywood Burns Institute has updated its interactive map which illustrates significant racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration rates.  Through this map you can review how your state ranks in incarceration rates, compare which counties have incarcerated the most youth by race,  and filter data by measurement, race, offense and placement type.  You can view the map on their website here.

Registration is now open for the Winter Criminal Law Webinar: Case and Legislative Update.  This webinar is open to public defenders and private attorneys who are interested in or currently practicing indigent defense work and will cover recent criminal law decisions from the N.C. Appellate Court and N.C. Supreme Court.  The training will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, and will reward participants with 1.5 hours of general CLE credit.  There is a registration fee of $75 for privately assigned counsel, contract attorneys and other non-IDS employees.  Registration ends on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m.  To register and find more info on presenters and topics included in this event, please visit the School of Government’s page.

Whale TrT

Stretched and Fading Deadlines

The Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham has extended its deadline for applications for a new staff attorney.  The closing date for this position will now be November 13.  You can view the full details about this position and how to apply here.

Applications for the North Carolina Judicial Fellowship’s two-year fellowships (six openings) beginning in August 2018 will close today at 5 p.m.  If you want to get in a last-minute application, feel free to check their website and submit it fast!

And that is all for this week.  There will be more to come in the next few weeks, even in the holiday season, so continue to check back frequently.  Also, feel free to join the conversation on our social media pages and feel free to share, especially on the OJD Facebook page, if there is something you think is worth discussing in the juvenile defender community!

Save the Date: Leandro at 20

Leandro

On Oct. 13, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Leandro v. State, the UNC Center for Civil Rights and the UNC Education Law & Policy Society, Black Law Students Association, and National Lawyers Guild are sponsoring “Leandro at 20: Two Decades in Pursuit of a Sound Basic Education.” This half-day conference will feature individual presenters, two panels, lunch, and an opportunity for engaged discussion among participants.  The conference features presenters who have played an integral role in education in North Carolina over the last two decades, including June Atkinson, Jack Boger, Ann McColl, Howard Lee, and Bob Orr.  In addition, Professors Erika Wilson (UNC) and Derek Black (USC) will discuss future challenges for education in NC.

Our hope is to engage law students, education advocates, school administrators, and community members in this exciting event.

Registration is free but space is limited!  Sign up here now!

Historic Celebration Honoring N.C. Supreme Court’s African-American Justices

AA justices ceremony
(From top, left to right) Justices Morgan, Timmons-Goodson, Beasley, Wynn, Frye, and Butterfield were honored on Aug. 31st (*Picture originally from NCAOC)

On Aug. 31st, the Historic Celebration Honoring the African-American Justices of the Supreme Court of North Carolina was held at the Law and Justice Building in Raleigh.  During this celebration the Honorable Henry E. Frye, James A. Wynn, Jr., G.K. Butterfield, Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Cheri Lynn Beasley, and Michael Rivers Morgan were recognized for their service.  Many people came out in support of the event, and rooms were also provided at the N.C. History Museum and the Court of Appeals, while the event was also live-streamed on Facebook.

Wanda Bryant, senior associate judge of the N.C. Court of Appeals, presided over the event, opening the ceremony by acknowledging each judge in the order of their service and encouraging the audience to join her in giving the six honorees a standing ovation.  Following Bryant’s introduction, Rev. Dr. Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Raleigh, gave the invocation before Chief Justice Mark Martin approached the podium to welcome everyone.  Martin acknowledged the current justices, the history of the N.C. Supreme Court, and spoke briefly about the service of each of the honorees individually.  During his speech, Martin also thanked Wynn for administering his oath to office and cheerfully welcomed the retired Frye back to the court.

Calvin Murphy, emergency judge of the N.C. superior court and a former N.C. business court judge and former president of the N.C. State Bar, gave the occasion.  Murphy gave a more detailed history of the role of African-Americans in the N.C. judicial system, pointing out that the six African-American justices had all been appointed over the past 34 years, and two of only seven women to serve on the N.C. Supreme Court were African-American.

Kaye Webb, retired general counsel of North Carolina Central University and a former president of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, recognized the guests and Ken Lewis, former law clerk to Chief Justice Frye, introduced the African American justices before speakers came to the front to give remarks.

Introducing former Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., District Judge Herbert Richardson was the first speak.  “If the public is to have equal access to justice, they must have equal access to the bench,” Richardson said in a powerful speech.  “You cannot find justice if you cannot find your people.”

When Hunt took the stage, he discussed how change is necessary to achieve greatness.  “When we don’t rock the boat, we stop moving forward,” Hunt said in the closing of his speech.  “Keep rocking the boat until N.C. is all that it could be, all that it would be, all that it should be.”

On behalf of the infirm former Governor Michael F. Easley, his son, Michael F. Easley, Jr., spoke after Hunt, echoing the need for representation of all people in the justice system.  “It is only by diversity that the court is held in the esteem that it is.” Easley said.  In his own closing, Easley borrowed a quote from Civil Rights champion Martin Luther King, Jr., which was paraphrased from Minister Theodore Parker’s 19th-century sermon, saying, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  He then thanked the honorees for bending the metaphorical arc.

Former Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue followed Easley, opening her speech by recounting her first embarrassing experience in front of judges to the audience’s amusement.  Perdue said that while she once thought that the fight for equality of race and sex, among other things, had been already won, the same issues persist today, but it is important that North Carolinians above all others maintain a spirit of optimism.

Governor Roy Cooper, who was unable to join the presentation in person, gave his speech via video presentation, thanking the justices for their service and for being an inspiration to others.

Following the governors’ speeches, Attorney General Joshua Stein, State Senator Daniel T. Blue, Jr., and Justices Butterfield, Timmons-Goodson, and Frye all took to the podium, echoing the importance of diversity, legacy, and positivity and the history of the N.C. Supreme Court.

In closing, Rev. Dr. Maurice A. Harden, pastor of Rush Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Raleigh, gave the benediction and all attendees were invited to a reception hosted at the governor’s office.

James E. Williams Jr. Discusses Race and the Justice System in N.C. in N&O Op-Ed

On June 9th, The News & Observer published an op-ed by James E. Williams Jr., who served as a public defender for Chatham and Orange counties since 1990 and recently retired.

In his article, “Amid district challenges N.C. Supreme Court faces another test on race”,  Williams begins by addressing how the N.C. state legislature attempted to diminish the impact of African-American votes in 2015, and how the N.C. Supreme Court did nothing to correct this wrong, until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the actions of the legislature unconstitutional.  Williams says that presently the N.C. court will be tested in their handling of the issue of racial bias in jury selection, now that new evidence suggests that four death row inmates in the state may have been sentenced in trials where prosecutors acted unethically and illegally.  This evidence shows that district attorneys intentionally removed qualified black jurors and utilized strategies to avoid having black judges hear the cases of these men.  Williams also points out the state’s failure to refute claims of broad systematic discrimination against Black jurors since the introduction of the Racial Justice Act.

In his closing, Williams, who is also the founder of the N.C. Public Defenders’ Committee on Racial Equity and serves on the board of the N.C. Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, writes, “The question before the N.C. Supreme Court now is a fundamental one: Will we finally live up to our credo, ‘all men are created equal,’ and make sure that African-Americans have the right to fully participate in our democracy? Or will we turn a blind eye to another case of obvious discrimination, and force the U.S. Supreme Court to step in once again?”

You can read the full article here.

A Review of Saldierna by Guest Blogger Martin Moore

Martin Moore

Most recently, State v. Saldierna, 794 S.E.2d 474 (2016) has brought into question my understanding of how the North Carolina appellate courts view juveniles.  In the midst of a strong push by many judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys for legislators to raise the age of adulthood for criminal purposes, the North Carolina Supreme Court essentially places the onus upon juveniles to affirmatively invoke their statutory rights.

 If you haven’t read LaToya Powell’s blog post on Saldierna, it offers a thorough analysis of the facts, ruling, and dissent and can be found here.  I will only offer the highlights as necessary to address some questions about what impact Saldierna may have going forward.

Saldierna Review

Facts

In Saldierna, a 16-year-old juvenile was arrested for his alleged role in burglaries of homes in Mecklenburg County.  During a custodial interview, the juvenile asked to call his mother, specifically asking “Um, can I call my mom?”  The interrogating officer allowed him to place the call, but the juvenile was unable to reach his mother and subsequently returned to the booking area where the interview resumed and the juvenile confessed.

The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the statements after the call to his mother and determined that the interview was conducted in a fashion consistent with the requirements of N.C.G.S. § 7B-2101 and was not made in violation of his Miranda rights.

 

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals opined that while § 7B-2101(a)(1), (2), and (4) are essentially codified, Constitution-based Miranda rights and must be invoked clearly and unequivocally, § 7B-2101(a)(3) is a “purely statutory right granted by our State’s General Assembly…” Id. at    , 775 S.E.2d at 332. The appellate court noted that their “review of the provisions of section 7B-2101 reveals an understanding by our General Assembly that the special right guaranteed by subsection (a)(3) is different from those rights discussed in Miranda and, in turn, reflects the legislature’s intent that law enforcement officers proceed with great caution in determining whether a juvenile is attempting to invoke this right.” Id. at    , 775 S.E.2d at 332.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order denying the motion to suppress and vacated the judgments entered on the defendant’s guilty pleas, remanding the case back to the trial court. State v. Saldierna,     N.C. App.    ,    , 775 S.E.2d 326, 334 (2015).

 

North Carolina Supreme Court

The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals.  The Court held that a juvenile’s right to have a parent present during a custodial interrogation is analogous to the constitutional right to counsel and the same standard must be applied to such situations.  Saldierna, __ N.C. at __, 794 S.E.2d at 478.

Following the guidance of Davis v. United States, the Court ultimately determined that the Saldierna did not clearly and unequivocally invoke his right to a parent’s being present and thus his statutory rights, N.C.G.S. §7B-2101(a)(3) were not violated under  were not violated:

“Although defendant asked to call his mother, he never gave any indication that he wanted to have her present for his interrogation, nor did he condition his interview on first speaking with her.  Instead, defendant simply asked to call her…As the trial court pointed out, defendant’s statement was at best an ambiguous invocation of his right to have his mother present.  As in Davis, without an unambiguous, unequivocal invocation of defendant’s right under N.C.G.S. §7B-2101(a)(3), law enforcement officers had no duty to ask clarifying questions or to cease questioning.”

Id. at 479.

This case appears to leave juvenile defenders in an increasingly difficult position.  The varying levels of sophistication and maturity alone have placed a significant burden on young men and women as well as their attorneys in navigating a very complex set of rules.

I imagine most juvenile defenders have at least one story of a young client who struggled, despite their best efforts, to fully understand even the plea transcript used in juvenile court.  With little surprise, a juvenile in a high-stress, custodial interrogation with a law enforcement officer may find themselves in similar difficult straits attempting to understand and invoke their rights under § 7B-2101(a).

While the facts of Saldierna alone can leave one with a sour taste in their mouth, what I envision as most troubling is the tone the Supreme Court sets with this case.  The Court appears to have placed the burden upon juveniles to not only to know and understand their rights, but to unequivocally, unambiguously assert them.  The rather adult responsibility of being a fully informed, civically astute citizen being placed upon the juvenile appears to run counter to the very idea underlying a fairly distinct court operating for the benefit of those same juveniles.

So what does this mean for cases going forward?

Example/Hypothetical:

Ignoring for a moment the differences between jurisdictions and varying procedure among the counties, entertain the following hypothetical:

Suppose four siblings (A, B, C, and D) are in the custody of the Department of Social Services while the Department looks deeper into abuse and neglect in the household.  Social Worker Jane is assigned to investigate the family, looking specifically into sexual abuse of Sibling A, C, and D by sibling B.

After a brief investigation, there is an allegation that A, B, C, and D may have all been engaged in underage, incestuous sex acts and drug use, without complete clarity on who is the initiating party/catalyst of the illicit activities.  The juveniles’ father, previously primary custodian and caretaker, recently had his parental rights terminated.

Juvenile B finds herself in a custodial interrogation with local law enforcement.  The officers are polite and respectful, advising Juvenile B of all relevant rights and call Social Worker Jane to meet them at the station.  Juvenile B asks “can you call my daddy?”  The officers oblige and call her father.  The officers then wait until Social Worker Jane walks into the interrogation room and begin their questioning.  About 15 minutes into the interrogation, her father arrives and sits in the interview room with B, the officers, and the social worker.  B then makes several incriminating statements with father’s nudging approval, hoping that cooperation will reunite the family quickly.

Instead Juvenile B is charged with several sex and drug crimes and now seeks the advice of counsel.

Has B invoked her statutory right?  Did she properly request a parent’s presence?  Did she have a “parent” present?

Prior to Saldierna, I believe the answers would be more clear: Yes, she invoked her statutory right; her request for parental presence was sufficient; and in effect, Juvenile B had no true parental representation. My contention would be that Social Worker Jane was not serving in any parental, custodial, or guardian-ad-litem capacity and certainly not even acting in the best interest of Juvenile B.  She was (and is) assigned to investigate wrongdoings that may have befallen Sibling A, C, and D, leaving her ill-positioned to strongly argue that she could fairly be considered a “parent” examining the facts for 7B-2101 purposes.

As in Saldierna, B made a request, ambiguous or otherwise, that I submit the officers should either heed (and arrange for her father to be present at the interrogation) or, at minimum, ask questions to clarify.  The law affirmatively provides this protection to specifically and solely to juveniles.

While my exposure to the civil/family court side of this is limited, I imagine there are some questions that would need to be answered as to the father.  I would submit biological father would be problematic if for no reason other than his lack of custody of his own children.  I have yet to find a case on point that would indicate that such a father would be sufficient for the purposes of being considered a parent for custodial interrogation purposes.

Post-Saldierna, I am not certain the North Carolina Supreme Court would agree.  The Court’s apparent call for a clear and unambiguous request to have his mother present makes it difficult to expect that questions regarding the adequacy of a juvenile’s parental figure would carry much weight.  Does Juvenile B have the responsibility of clarifying her father’s current parental rights and whose custody she is actually in?  Does Juvenile B have to affirmatively request from the court a DSS representative or guardian to serve as a custodian of their specific best interest?  Even asking these questions helps me realize we have shifted into far too sophisticated a standard to assume the juvenile is receiving any semblance of due process protections.

That said, we need not shift too far into the theoretical to glean what protections the legislature intended for juveniles to have; § 7B-2101(c) clearly states: “If the juvenile indicates in any manner and at any stage of questioning pursuant to this section that the juvenile does not wish to be questioned further, the officer shall cease questioning.”  It would seem that the legislature intended to be overly deferential, via the “in any manner” language, to the line of thinking that acknowledges juveniles should not be held to any specific language in invoking their constitutional and statutory rights.

Advising Juveniles

“I want my mommy and my lawyer.”

While reflecting on how to best advise juveniles, the most complete and honest answer: “it depends.”  For practical purposes, I offer the following:

  1. Be Proactive in Advising

We can debate and discuss recidivism and WHY juveniles may find themselves seeking counsel, but the reality for many of us is that we have repeat clients.  Counseling, mentoring, and advising can and should be forward looking, particularly for the client (or two) that may pick up subsequent charges after we are appointed.  Take the opportunity to walk them through your local law enforcement’s juvenile rights advisement form (7B-2101) and help them understand, in plain language, that they have a voice and are entitled to help.

  1. Discovery, Discovery, Discovery

It seems trite and rather obvious to suggest that the more information you have, the better off you’ll be, but it’s true.  Thorough investigation and interviews are often the only way to obtain the facts needed to advocate on behalf of your client.  DSS records (including social worker reports/notes on parents, juvenile client, and siblings), DNA results, officer statements and notes provide invaluable information and potential mitigation for even the worst of cases.

Of course, there is no substitute for experience and open communication.  Reaching out to colleagues, who practice in both adult and juvenile court, willing to share their experiences may yield insight about what information would be helpful or could be missing.  Particularly when dealing with medical records, for example Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) evaluations/reports, experienced colleagues can be the best resource for help interpreting these documents and providing referrals to experts.

  1. Develop/Reassess Relationship with DSS Social Workers and DSS Attorneys

I admit, on first glance, this may seem like I asked you to put your hand on a hot stove.  That said, I have found, particularly in sex offense cases, the Department of Social Services are an invaluable resource.  Because many of the sex cases I have worked on often involve either a history of abuse of the juvenile or wrongdoing by another as well, DSS’ interest may align with your client’s.  At the very least, you can chat about the Ritchie motion you plan on filing.

  1. Guardians ad Litem

A guardian can go a long way in helping both you and your client navigate the legal and non-legal challenges.  In our jurisdiction, several of our guardians are attorneys who take (or took) juvenile clients and often continue to work in family (non-criminal) court on DSS and TPR cases.  In two recent cases, the guardian I worked with is a former public defender that was able to connect with my client and form a bond that led to some very helpful information that aided us in securing a reduced charge.

  1. Make the Constitutional Arguments

I believe Saldierna is in part a reflection of the lack of case law focusing on the unique nature of juvenile court.  I choose to believe that the North Carolina Supreme Court has lacked sufficient opportunities to review the reality that juveniles very rarely appear to appreciate that they can, or now, have to, advocate for themselves even when interacting with authority figures they may have been blindly taught to obey without question.

Policy can quickly change, but it’s our responsibility to put the issues before the Court of Appeals and NC Supreme Court.  The Court of Appeals opinion and Justice Beasley’s dissent both included strong, helpful language and I would relish seeing more of that reasoning make its way into COA and Supreme Court decisions, or at the very least, dissents.

Martin Moore is an Assistant Public Defender in Asheville, North Carolina.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Moore went on to obtain his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  In his free time, he enjoys music and volunteers with a local non-profit helping underprivileged youth gain access to education.  You can connect with him via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-moore-8792814b, or contact him by email or his website at Martin@MartinEkimMoore.com or www.martinekimmoore.com.

 

 

NCCALJ Presents Final Report to the Chief Justice

On March 15th, the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ) released its final report to Chief Justice Mark Martin during a ceremony at the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Chieft Justice Receives Final Report

The NCCALJ was convened by Chief Justice Martin in September 2015, tasked with reviewing the N.C. Judicial System and making recommendations for improving the administration of justice.  The sixty-five members of the Commission were divided into five committees, with each committee presenting its own final assessment in one of five areas after conducting thorough research, consulting with experts, and engaging in collaborative discussions, as well as gathering input from the public.

This report includes the recommendation to raise the juvenile age to 18 for all crimes except violent felonies and traffic offenses.  You can review our previous summary of this recommendation for the juvenile reinvestment plan on our blog, or you can also view the Criminal Investigation and Adjudication Committee’s final report here.

In addition to the recommendation to raise the juvenile age, the Criminal Investigation and Adjudication Committee’s report includes recommendations for improving indigent defense services, pretrial justice and criminal case management.  The other committees cover Legal Professionalism, Public Trust and Confidence, Technology and Civil Justice.

“The Commission’s recommendations create a framework for dramatic, systemic improvement in the administration of justice in North Carolina,” said Chief Justice Martin.  “The work of this blue-ribbon Commission will help ensure that North Carolina’s Judicial Branch meets the needs and expectations that the people of North Carolina have for fair, modern and impartial courts.”

The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, along with other components of the Judicial Branch, will implement the Commission’s recommendations.

For more information, you can find the final report and the appendices here.  For inquiries from the media, please contact Sharon Gladwell at sharon.e.gladwell@nccourts.org or 919-890-1394.