2018 End of Year Newsletter 

Transformative Community

As we end 2018, we want to thank you for all you do as a juvenile defender, as an advocate, as a leader, and as a supporter to contribute to shaping change that advances rights, liberty, and justice for all young people. In our work with each of you we seek to grow transformative community to migrate away from fractured and disparate legal systems toward systems of fairness, equity, and hope. Thank you for the many successes you worked toward and achieved this year on behalf of and in partnership with young people in the court system.

As we turn to a New Year, we can learn from the oak trees, reaching out to find each other, intertwining, and holding each other up to face whatever comes their way. Oak trees, historic and majestic in so many communities, grow wide as they reach out and intertwine their roots with other oak trees under the soil. In storms (and sunshine) they work together to support each other, grow, and thrive. They are bound together because they seek each other out, at the roots.

We look forward to working with you in the year ahead to create a future where all youth have access to opportunities for liberty, and where the rights of all young people are actually treated equally, especially the right to counsel.

Kristina Kersey, Assistant Deputy at the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender discusses the importance of NJDC’s juvenile defense training

Arizona Assessment Highlights How Court Fees & Costs Harm Children

September 2018— the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) released a 24th state assessment, Arizona: Bringing Gault HomeAn Assessment of Access to and Quality of Juvenile Defense Counsel

Since it’s releaseArizona: Bringing Gault Home has been reported on by The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix NPR affiliate– this coverage coupled with the findings highlighted in the report has spurred important conversations among juvenile justice stakeholders throughout the state about necessary reforms related to juvenile defense and the fees and costs in juvenile court.  The report includes key recommendations and implementation strategies for system improvements.

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

NJDC Legal Director, Tim Curry discusses how the fees and costs in Arizona hurt children and families

Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio & Virginia
Collateral Consequences Booklets Highlight Harms of Juvenile Court

Adjudications of delinquency, or juvenile convictions, can follow a young person throughout adulthood and have far-reaching consequences on their ability to:

  • secure employment,
  • pursue higher education,
  • obtain housing, and
  • join the military, among many other challenges.

In an effort to strengthen the capacity of young people, families, and communities to navigate the impacts of a juvenile record, we are developing state-specific collateral consequences booklets. Our latest editions are specifically geared for children, youth, and families in these four states. State-specific guides also exist for California, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Washington. 

All booklets can be download by clicking here. Please contact us if you would like hard copies of these booklets.

NJDC Board Member Looks Back On Becoming a Public Defender

New York University School of Law’s Vice Dean and NJDC Board Member, Professor Randy Hertz reflects on investing in the young people that he represented.

"I had seen the kind of treatment
that children received when they went to juvenile court...
and I decided that I wanted to help."
— Randy Hertz

We are honored to have lifelong juvenile defense attorneys such as Randy help us #DefendChildren. Click here to learn more about Randy and our other distinguished members of NJDC’s Board of Directors.

Deconstructing the Deep End with Defenders and Youth

September 2018 — The Annie E. Casey Foundation hosted the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) & Deep End Inter-Site Conference in St. Louis, MO.

NJDC was honored to be invited to co-facilitate a session on the importance of youth-driven plans for success. NJDC executive director, Mary Ann Scali partnered with juvenile defense lawyers and youth advisors in a discussion about working with young people to create disposition and release plans that are strength-based and opportunity-oriented while still addressing the concerns of the court.  

Youth-driven disposition plans are likely to lead to greater success because youth are actively involved in the process.

Strategies geared toward limiting probation, preventing incarceration, and promoting youth rights & equity.

NJDC Leads Workshop on Reporting in Juvenile Justice for Journalists

October 2018 — The National Juvenile Defender Center presented at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City’s symposium, Children and Justice: Unfinished Business.

The symposium brought together 33 journalists with juvenile justice academics, practitioners, policymakers, and advocates for briefings with the aim of strengthening national reporting on juvenile justice.

NJDC Board Member, Jim St. Germain served on a panel of impacted individuals and provided journalists with insights  on the injustices of the juvenile court system.

"Incarceration starts before you even hit the system.
We are never given the benefit of the doubt...
we live in an open air prison"
— Jim St. Germain

NJDC Board Member, Jim St. Germain speaks with reporters on the importance of raising the voices of impacted youth.

PJDC’s Roundtable Highlights California’s Return to Justice for System-Involved Youth

September 2018— the 15th annual Pacific Juvenile Defender Center’s Roundtable was held in San Bernardino, CA; co-hosted and co-sponsored by the Law Offices of the Public Defender of San Bernardino County. 

Presentations included a range of case law and legislative updates.

Damian Spieckerman was awarded PJDC’s 2018 “Defender of the Year” award for the tireless, innovative and effective advocacy that he has undertaken on behalf of his young clients at the Office of the Solano Co. Public Defender.

Damian Spieckerman receives PJDC “Defender of the Year” Award (photo by Rourke Stacy)

More than
120 juvenile advocates attended
the day-long event, which attracted lawyers from 22 counties
across California.

CJDC Releases Rural Outreach & Accessibility Model (ROAM) Training Toolkit

The Colorado Juvenile Defender Center released the Rural Outreach and Accessibility Model (ROAM) Training Toolkit

ROAM was developed under Colorado JDC’s        Access to Juvenile Justice: Rural & Tribal Southwest project with the goal of providing an adaptable training delivery model that utilizes technology, in-person facilitation, and effective training strategies to raise the level of juvenile defense practice in remote, rural, and underserved communities.

It is the value of specialized, in-person training for the rural defense attorney that ROAM aims to achieve, not the maximum number of participants in any single training location.

The goal of the
Rural Outreach and Accessibility Model Toolkit/ ROAM is to bring
specialized juvenile defense training to practitioners in remote jurisdictions.

2018 NJDC Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Award Winners for Excellence in Juvenile Defense

NJDC’s Shepherd award honors juvenile defenders who excel as they: advocate for children in courtrooms and statehouses; teach and inspire new generations of lawyers; challenge the systems that ensnare and harm our young clients; and make a difference for children.

Julián Claudio Gotay

Julián is the Coordinator for Juvenile Justice Programs at Puerto Rico’s Sociedad Para Asistencia Legal (SAL), where he oversees juvenile defense and training for juvenile attorneys across Puerto Rico and serves as Director of SAL’s offices in three jurisdictions.

Julián founded the Programa de Apoyo e Integración Social for SAL, which offers education and prevention services to children at risk of entering the juvenile justice system; he provides new-judge training and continuing judicial legal education through the Puerto Rican Judicial Academy; and he advocates for legislative reforms to better protect children’s rights.

Julián is a fierce advocate for young people, both as a litigator and as an advocate for systemic reform.

Julián Claudio Gotay​, 2018 NJDC Shepherd Award Winners for Excellence in Juvenile Defense

Christopher Northrop

Chris is a clinical professor at the University of Maine School of Law, where he directs the Juvenile Justice Clinic, which he founded in 2006, and teaches the juvenile law practicum. Chris and his students provide legal representation to children in Maine’s juvenile courts and advocate for policy and legislative reforms.

Chris and his clinical students helped draft and implement Maine’s juvenile competency statute, which is recognized as a national model, and they coordinated their litigation and legislation efforts to successfully challenge the indiscriminate shackling of young people in Maine’s juvenile courts. 

Chris’ dedication
to making a difference for children extends beyond the courtroom, his classroom, and this community.

Christopher Northrop​, 2018 NJDC Shepherd Award Winners for Excellence in Juvenile Defense

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Support NJDC This Holiday Season

Between now and the end of the year, please consider supporting NJDC by making a donation via our facebook page  or our NJDC website