August 2018 Newsletter 

National News: Assessing the District of Columbia

On June 7, 2018, the National Juvenile Defender Center released an assessment of access to and quality of juvenile defense counsel in the District of Columbia.

The DC Assessment provides a review of the strengths of the system as well as how the District’s juvenile defense system can improve and provides recommendations for reforms related to: improving youth access to counsel post-disposition; providing additional support to private attorneys; stopping the indiscriminate shackling of children in court; and refining the collection and reportability of data.

This marks NJDC’s 23rd assessment providing a comprehensive examination of the systemic and institutional barriers that prevent young people from receiving high-quality legal representation as part of a nationwide effort to improve juvenile defense. 

Please contact NJDC if you would like to receive a hard copy of the report; click here to download.

Ensuring that all of DC’s youth receive access to the high-quality representation they need and deserve​

National News: The Common App Will Stop Asking About Students' Criminal Histories

Starting with the 2019-2020 application cycle, the Common Application (a single form students can fill out to apply to any college that uses it) will no longer include a question asking students about their criminal history.

The non-profit organization behind the Common Application announced they will eliminate this question that has been asked since 2006 due to member feedback.

Access to college is critical to overcoming the collateral consequences young people face after juvenile court or criminal court involvement — click here to learn more about these collateral consequences.

Visit Clean Slate Clearinghouse‘s website to help youth, families, and communities learn more about moving forward with a criminal record.

Please contact NJDC if you would like hard copies for state-specific Collateral Consequences Guides; click here to download.

NJDC is developing state-specific Collateral Consequences guides. Please contact us for completed guides for: California, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Washington

National News: Addressing Bias in Delinquency and Child Welfare Systems

In July, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) released Addressing Bias in Delinquency and Child Welfare Systems, a bench card emphasizing that “eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile and family courts is critical to creating a fair and equitable system of justice for all youth.”

The Addressing Bias bench card:

  • Educates juvenile and family court judges about structural, explicit, and implicit bias;
  • Provides judges with self-reflection tools to help them recognize and prevent bias in their courtroom; and
  • Offers judges concrete strategies to correct implicit bias.

Addressing Bias is the fifth in a series of bench cards jointly released by NCJFCJ and NJDC. 

Please contact NJDC if you are interested in sharing this resource in your court; click here to download.

Creating tools to promote attention, dialogue, and concrete strategies to ensure youth rights and equity in our courts​

National News: Juvenile Training Immersion Program’s (JTIP) Summer Academy ​

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Initiative were delighted to host 42 lawyers, representing 23 states and Puerto Rico, for the 5th annual Juvenile Training Immersion Program’s (JTIP) Summer Academy.

"I know that I'm a better lawyer than I was a week ago and I'm excited to make a bigger and better difference in the lives of my young clients."

Training an army of juvenile defenders is JTIP’s mission, and Summer Academy is a highly acclaimed, selective-application program designed exclusively for juvenile defenders to train, strengthen, energize, and inspire juvenile defense attorneys.

Click here to learn more about our Juvenile Training Immersion Program. 

National News: Journey to Justice — From Defendant to Defender​

 Jarrett Adams has joined the National Juvenile Defender Center’s Board of Directors.

At the age of 17, Jarrett was sentenced to a 28-year prison term and spent nearly 10 years behind bars for a crime that he did not commit. 

"My only encounter with the criminal court system was 'Law & Order.' And at the end of those commercials, and that theme music comes on, you don't see guys who are wrongfully convicted go to prison and get sentenced to 28 years."

Now he’s a lawyer, representing other wrongfully-convicted people — including a man who he served time with. Jarrett was by his side in June when a judge overturned his conviction. Click here to read more.

To learn more about Jarrett and the other distinguished members of NJDC’s Board of Directors click here

Jarrett Adams joins National Juvenile Defender Center's Board of Directors

National News: Strengthening Juvenile Defense Communities Across The Nation

Spanning the country, the National Juvenile Defender Center’s nine Regional Juvenile Defender Centers are the backbone of our work

The Regional Juvenile Defender Centers connect frontline juvenile defenders to each other and to a national community of advocates fighting for youth rights. Each center builds innovations in the field, while simultaneously partnering to deliver resources, research, training, and expertise to local defender offices. 

Click here to connect with your Regional Juvenile Defender Center.

Southern JDC Regional News: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Juvenile Defense

On June 8, 2018, the Southern Juvenile Defender Center hosted their 8th annual regional summit at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law. 

The two-day regional summit began with a keynote address by South Carolina State Senator, Gerald Malloy and continued with sessions including:

  • Effective advocacy;
  • Taking a multi-disciplinary approach;
  • Ethics & holistic representation;
  • Dually-involved clients;
  • 8th Amendment in juvenile court; and
  • Challenging statements 

Click here to learn more about the Southern Juvenile Defender Center and this program.

Alabama attendees at SJDC's 2018 Summit sport their "We Free Kids" hats​

Midwest JDC Regional News: Defenders and Policy Advocates Come Together to Share Creative Defense Strategies

Believe in the Power of Potential: Youth Arts Alliance presents on the benefits of providing young people in detention and residential treatment facilities with safe spaces for self-expression

On July 26, 2018, the Midwest Juvenile Defender Center hosted their annual regional summit at the University of Michigan’s School of Law with topics including:

  • Fines, fees, and restitution;
  • The impact of youth shackling;
  • Raising the age of juvenile court;
  • Dually-involved clients;
  • Juvenile waiver & transfers to adult court;
  • Juvenile life without parole/ JLWOP; and
  • Advancing cases with use of data 

"... Michigan defenders and policy advocates shared creative defense strategies but urged that Michigan needs a state assessment with recommendations to establish a comprehensive statewide system to ensure that all children receive adequate defense services."

Michigan advocates report increasing support from local government leaders to raise the age of juvenile court to the age of 18, based on a recognition that juvenile courts have lower repeat offending rates than adult criminal prosecutions.

Click here to learn more about the Midwest Juvenile Defender Center and the program.

New England JDC Regional News:
Vermont Offers Hope For Emerging Adults

New Vermont laws will allow 18- and 19-year-olds to be treated in the juvenile justice system.

When the law goes into effect, these young people will have access to youth rehabilitation programs and if incarcerated, be confined in youth facilities instead of mingled with adults in prison. Click here to learn more.

Several other states such as Connecticut, Illinois, and Massachusetts have proposed legislation to raise the age of youth justice in their states to 21. 

NJDC National Advisory Board Member, Ellen Marrus presents at the 17th Annual Zealous Advocacy Conference

Southwest JDC Regional News:
Fundamentals of Child Advocacy Emphasized at Zealous Advocacy Conference

On August 15, 2018, juvenile advocates had a refresher course on the basics of legal representation of children at the 17th annual Zealous Advocacy Conference hosted by the Southwest Juvenile Defender Center (SWJDC) at the University of Houston Law Center.

The topics covered included:

  • Adolescent development;
  • The role of counsel;
  • Interviewing clients;
  • Ethics in juvenile defense;
  • Probable cause and detention; 
  • Motion practice; and
  • Disposition advocacy

Participants also split into groups to discuss and share additional child advocacy techniques.

Click here to learn more about the event.

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Upcoming Events:​ PJDC's 15th Annual Roundtable

Pacific Juvenile Defender Center‘s (PJDC) 15th Annual Roundtable: Changes in the Wind

Saturday, September 22, 2018

8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Victoria Garden Cultural Center

Rancho Cucamonga, California

The event will offer case law and legislative updates, as well as workshops in critical areas of juvenile law and policy. This year will focus on multiple, recent changes to juvenile law and policy that are reversing the destructive tough on crime trajectory. 

Upcoming Events:​ Colorado Direct File and Transfer Law

Colorado Juvenile Defender Center (CJDC) and Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC) co-host Legal and Practical Considerations for Juvenile Defenders

Friday, September 14, 2018

8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Register here

Join CJDC and OADC for a deep dive into direct file and transfer representation in Colorado. Sessions will include: Statutes and Guidelines; Developing Mitigation; Experts; Confinement Pending Hearing; Suppression Issues to Litigate Before the Transfer Hearing; and Strategic and Ethical Considerations.

Now Hiring:​ 2019-2021 Gault Fellowship​

Recent law school graduates and current 3L/ 4LEs are invited to apply for this two-year Juvenile defense fellowship with us in Washington, DC starting in September 2019

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