April 2019 Newsletter

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A Conversation with "The Central Park Five"
Director, Sarah Burns and Exoneree, Yusef Salaam

In two short weeks…

We invite you to join us as we commemorate In re Gault, and proudly host an exclusive conversation with The Central Park Five Filmmaker, Sarah Burns and Exoneree, Yusef Salaam, who as a 15-year-old youth was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Listen and be inspired as Yusef shares his Story of (In)justice and his incredible commitment towards building justice for all young people.  

This May 15th, be a part of a memorable evening where we celebrate this landmark decision, honor lawyers and advocates that defend children daily, and come together to fight for a future where the rights and dignity of all children are honored in America’s juvenile courts. Click here to RSVP

“The system
put a mark on us...
You’re not the same
as everyone else.
And nobody ever asked
who we were.
As black and brown people,
it’s as if
we were born guilty.”

— Yusef Salaam

At age 15,  Yusef Salaam was wrongfully arrested, convicted, and imprisoned as one of the “Central Park Five” ( Jenny Carchman/ The New Yorker & The Marshall Project)

Now Available: Juvenile Facilities Checklist for Defenders

April 2019 — On any given day, nearly 50,000 youth in the United States are held in facilities, including detention and correctional facilities, as well as other types of secure and non-secure out-of-home placements.

NJDC is pleased to share the Juvenile Facilities Checklist for Defenders: Advocating for the Safety and Well-Being of Young People, a resource for juvenile defense lawyers to assess and monitor the safety of juvenile facilities used by juvenile courts.

Click here to download and learn more about the Juvenile Facilities Checklist for Defenders.

Designed to assist
juvenile defenders in assessing the safety of the juvenile facilities where
their clients could be housed and their clients’ risk of exposure to harmful conditions and abuse.

Click here to view

NJDC & Pacific Juvenile Defender Center Partner for
JTIP Trainer Certification

April 2019 — Earlier this month, 18 juvenile defense lawyers from across California traveled to Berkeley for a Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP) Trainer Certification hosted by the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center (PJDC) 

These newly-certified JTIP trainers are now prepared to deliver the highly specialized, juvenile defense curriculum that helps lawyers meet their obligations at every stage of the delinquency system. 

NJDC is thrilled to build the cadre of Certified JTIP Trainers prepared to strengthen the skills of juvenile defense lawyers in juvenile courts across the nation. Click here to learn more about JTIP.

Access to justice
for young people begins
with access to a lawyer —
a lawyer that is specially trained in juvenile law.

18 juvenile defenders from across California become Certified JTIP Trainers.

Juvenile Court Judges Training on Addressing Racial Bias

March 2019 — NJDC facilitated a training session on Addressing Racial Bias for over 80 juvenile court judges at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCFCJ) annual juvenile justice conference

Judges in attendance engaged in a lively dialogue about the role of bias in decision-making and strategies for de-biasing their own decisions as well as structural policies that create disparities.

The training was based on the Addressing Bias bench card which is the fifth in a series of bench cards jointly developed by NCJFCJ and NJDC specifically for judges. Click here to download and learn more about the Addressing Bias bench card.

Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile and family courts is critical to creating a fair and equitable system of justice for all youth.

Orleans Parish Juvenile Court judge, Hon. Ernestine Gray and NJDC Executive Director, Mary Ann Scali discuss how to decrease racial disparities with judges at the NCFCJ Conference

New Utah Law Will Give Every Child in Juvenile Court a Lawyer

March  2019 — New Utah legislation, SB32 signed into law requires every young person in juvenile court proceedings to be appointed a lawyer regardless of whether they can afford to pay for one or not. Prior to this point, and only in more recent years were youth facing felonies guaranteed an attorney in court.

SB32 also requires the attorney to be present at all court hearings, including detention hearings and review hearings. As Rep. Andrew Stoddard stated, “Juveniles are incredibly vulnerable. They need representation. And this gets it to them.”

Click here to learn more about SB32.

"At the time,
I didn't think a lawyer would have made a difference... "

— Former juvenile system-involved Utah teen

On a juvenile record that a decade later prevents certain job opportunities

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signs SB32 into law requiring the appointment of counsel for all youth in juvenile court. (Community Resources for Justice)


Nebraska and Wyoming Work to Limit the Harms of
Juvenile Court Records

March 2019 — Until recently, Nebraska only required the automatic sealing of juvenile court records only when cases were not filed or later dismissed. For youth involved in the state’s juvenile justice system, this meant having to wait until they reached the age of 17 to have their records sealed. The signing of LB354 into law now streamlines the sealing process and mandates the automatic sealing of all records for young people who complete their probation or a diversion program. Click here to learn more about LB354.

In Wyomingyoung people will no longer have to petition the courts to have their records expunged as of July 1st. The new law streamlines the procedure for expungement of juvenile court records by giving prosecuting attorneys the authority to clear records on behalf of youth that are considered to be in good standing. Click here to learn more about WY HB0044.

"I have
seen the future,
it is you."

—  Senator Patty Pansing-Brooks

On sponsoring LB354 and wanting to give youth the chance to move on with their lives. 

Click here to learn more about the Collateral Consequences that young people in Nebraska face

Upcoming Juvenile Defense Trainings for Lawyers

Western Juvenile Defender Center

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Midwest Juvenile Defender Center

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