National Juvenile Defender Center

National Juvenile Defender Center NJDC gives juvenile defense attorneys a more permanent capacity to address practice issues, improve advocacy skills, build partnerships, exchange information, and participate in the national debate over juvenile crime.

Operating as usual

“The United States treats children, especially children of color, differently than any nation in the world."
11/07/2020
Mistreatment of Children ‘Pervasive’ in Youth Justice System, Advocates Charge | The Crime Report

“The United States treats children, especially children of color, differently than any nation in the world."

A system supposedly aimed at rehabilitating justice-involved young people is instead harming them, says Mary Ann Scali of the National Juvenile Defender Center. She was one of the speakers at a youth justice webinar, which highlighted civil rights abuses experienced by youth, and particularly young....

"When implemented poorly, youth diversion efforts are in danger of unintentionally deepening inequity."
11/05/2020
Promoting Equity in Youth Diversion Programs Must Be Conscious, Detailed Plan

"When implemented poorly, youth diversion efforts are in danger of unintentionally deepening inequity."

Juvenile justice reforms, including the growing use of youth diversion programs that offer alternatives to youth arrest and incarceration, have helped contribute to a substantial decrease in the number of young people who are involved in the justice system in recent years. Despite this overall decre...

"Black lives cannot really matter in New Jersey when the state continues to disproportionately incarcerate its Black you...
11/02/2020
Report: NJ youth prisons make it seem black lives don't matter

"Black lives cannot really matter in New Jersey when the state continues to disproportionately incarcerate its Black youth in failed youth prisons."

The Garden State's largely empty youth prisons are throwing money away and are replete with racial disparity, according to a report from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

"If we already know the research shows that kids are twice as likely to drop out of school, to become more criminogenic,...
11/02/2020
'It’s gonna hurt my back': Atlanta child handcuffed for hours and arrested

"If we already know the research shows that kids are twice as likely to drop out of school, to become more criminogenic, when we handcuff them and detain them, then maybe we need to ask ourselves, 'hey, systemically, should we take another look at these procedures and look a little more at criteria when handcuffs should go on a kid who is not acting violently at the moment?'”

At least 267 children 12-years-old or younger have been arrested in Atlanta over the past five years. Some of them handcuffed. Should police policy change?

“In order to participate via Zoom for remote hearings, you have to have the equipment, you have to have a computer, you ...
10/31/2020
School-to-Prison Pipeline Still Functions During Pandemic, Advocates Warn | The Crime Report

“In order to participate via Zoom for remote hearings, you have to have the equipment, you have to have a computer, you have to have internet access. The entire workaround for in-person hearings presupposes a position of privilege."

Despite school closings or truncated classes as a result of the pandemic, some schoolchildren continue to be the victims of “zero tolerance” policies that punish unruly behavior with arrest or suspension, a webinar on youth justice reform heard Thursday.

“There are so many other Graces out there who need a voice, and they need to be heard. They are screaming, they’re yelli...
10/31/2020
Out of Jail and Back in School, Grace Finds Her Voice

“There are so many other Graces out there who need a voice, and they need to be heard. They are screaming, they’re yelling, they’re asking for help.”

“Your past does not define you,” Grace said in her first public event. The Michigan teen’s case sparked national outrage and the #FreeGrace campaign after she was sent to juvenile detention for not completing online schoolwork.

“You really have to be simply inhumane to have a sentence that is a de facto life sentence, and it's inconsistent with w...
10/30/2020
Illinois high court upholds 130-year sentence for juvenile offender

“You really have to be simply inhumane to have a sentence that is a de facto life sentence, and it's inconsistent with what’s been evolving in our society, in terms of what is appropriate and what is proportionate."

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court preserved a 130-year prison sentence for a man convicted of rape and murder, Ashanti Lusby, who was 16 years old at the time of

"I have been involved with the courts since I was 11 years old. The fact that I allowed myself to hope I could receive a...
10/29/2020
Juvenile Records Should Not Be Used In Adult Sentencing Enhancement: Here’s Why

"I have been involved with the courts since I was 11 years old. The fact that I allowed myself to hope I could receive a fair shot in the courts, well, it pisses me off — I know better."

How is this possible?" I ask my friend Felix. There’s a noticeable and rare twist of anger in my voice. "You know what to expect,” he says. “When have they ever ruled on the side of the law when it comes to us?" Felix is responding to the news I just shared with him: My case in the Washington ...

"A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examination of hundreds of documents, including medical records, police reports and court ...
10/28/2020
Maricella’s Last Breath: She died alone in a cell at 16. Officials said they were devastated. They didn’t say they did anything wrong.

"A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examination of hundreds of documents, including medical records, police reports and court transcripts, shows authorities repeatedly failed Maricella, not only in her final days but for years before that. County workers often didn’t find her proper mental health care. Police downplayed her reports of sexual assault. A judge ordered her jailed the night she escaped traffickers."

The teen's brief, troubled life and her suicide in a juvenile jail reveal failings by Wisconsin authorities who were supposed to protect her.

“Educators and other folks in human services use the juvenile justice system as a default for any other problems that th...
10/27/2020
How Juvenile Probation Lands More Youths in Jail | The Crime Report

“Educators and other folks in human services use the juvenile justice system as a default for any other problems that they haven’t been successful solving.”

Arrests of juveniles have plummeted, but reformers are pivoting to the plight of young people placed on probation by juvenile courts, where they are more likely to be trapped in a cycle that makes it virtually impossible to escape further involvement in the justice system.

"It’s time for Michigan to reckon with the unjust practice of juvenile court debt. We must put an urgent stop to these f...
10/27/2020
Opinion | Free Michigan’s young people from unjust debt

"It’s time for Michigan to reckon with the unjust practice of juvenile court debt. We must put an urgent stop to these fees at a time when Michigan families – particularly Black families – are struggling to make ends meet."

We have called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Supreme Court to stop the assessment and collection of juvenile court debt. Here’s why you should join our urgent call to action.

"Generations of historical trauma and increased exposure to violence make young Native Americans more vulnerable to the ...
10/26/2020
The Unique Problems Facing Native American Youths in the Criminal Justice System

"Generations of historical trauma and increased exposure to violence make young Native Americans more vulnerable to the complicated, often contradictory clutches of the juvenile justice system."

“There’s this whole block of Native American young people, who by accident of history, are now in federal detention. And it’s a travesty.”

"Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who was charged with shooting and killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisc...
10/22/2020
Kyle Rittenhouse Deserves the Kind of Mercy My Son Did Not Receive

"Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who was charged with shooting and killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is just a year older than my son was when he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. To a great many people in this country, my son deserves to die in prison. To another great many, Rittenhouse deserves the same fate. Neither outcome is just."

To a great many people in this country, my son deserves to die in prison. To another great many, Kyle Rittenhouse deserves the same fate. Neither outcome is just.

"Black and brown youth experience the greatest harms of punitive justice system responses and will be most impacted by t...
10/21/2020
Closing California’s State Youth Prisons is a Victory for Racial Justice

"Black and brown youth experience the greatest harms of punitive justice system responses and will be most impacted by the process of juvenile justice realignment."

In a long-awaited decision, California leaders have moved to close the state’s youth correctional institutions managed by the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Throughout its 80-year history, DJJ has come under harsh criticism for its prison-like conditions, rampant violence and dramatic racial ...

"America incarcerates more people under 18 than any other nation and is the only country in the world to condemn its chi...
10/13/2020
Policymakers, Time To End Juvenile Life Sentencing

"America incarcerates more people under 18 than any other nation and is the only country in the world to condemn its children to die behind bars, with no chance of freedom or hope for redemption."

A viral video in August showed an 8-year-old boy being arrested at his elementary school in handcuffs that slid off his tiny wrists. A police officer can be heard telling the child, “You’re going to jail.” Sadly, this is just the latest disturbing example of the uniquely American phenomenon of...

"When young people do not receive academic credit for coursework completed in juvenile justice facilities, they face a s...
10/09/2020
Credit Overdue: How States can Mitigate Academic Credit Transfer Problems for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

"When young people do not receive academic credit for coursework completed in juvenile justice facilities, they face a slew of educational consequences, which are particularly dev­astating for youth who are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system, includ­ing Black and Latinx youth, youth with disabilities, undocumented youth or youth who are English learners, LGBTQ+ youth, and youth who experience multiple levels of discrimination due to their over­lapping identities."

Features and Stories Credit Overdue: How States can Mitigate Academic Credit Transfer Problems for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System October 09, 2020 Download the report here. On any given day across the country, more than 48,000 youth are confined to juvenile justice facilities that not only tak...

10/08/2020
COVID-19 in the Youth Legal System

COVID19 is on the rise. States may have opened up, but now is no time to let up. Let's double down on steps we took when the pandemic began to find alternatives to the legal system, especially for Black & Brown youth.

A new law in California "prevents youth, up to age 17, from being interrogated prior to being held in custody and before...
10/07/2020
Governor Signs Bradford Bill To Protect Youth Miranda Rights | Random Lengths News

A new law in California "prevents youth, up to age 17, from being interrogated prior to being held in custody and before waiving their Miranda rights without consulting with legal counsel."

Random Lengths News Governor Signs Bradford Bill To Protect Youth Miranda Rights | The Los Angeles Harbor Area's Only Independently owned news magazine serving San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Lomita, Torrance, Long Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes and Harbor Gateway.

“When we talk about racism, we talk about it in terms of statistics and numbers. But we don’t talk about what happens wh...
10/04/2020
‘A Battle for the Souls of Black Girls’

“When we talk about racism, we talk about it in terms of statistics and numbers. But we don’t talk about what happens when you have to go into a school where nobody in that building believes you, or believes in you.”

Discipline disparities between Black and white boys have driven reform efforts for years. But Black girls are arguably the most at-risk student group in the United States.

09/30/2020
www.sentencingproject.org

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in juvenile justice systems around the nation. It didn't have to.

New report from @SentencingProj and @JoshRovner

"A justice system that does not provide equal circumstances for black and white defendants is not truly just."
09/28/2020
Cushman: Juvenile Justice Reform Needs to Be Race-Conscious to Count

"A justice system that does not provide equal circumstances for black and white defendants is not truly just."

  The Utah legislature passed a number of criminal justice reforms in 2017 to help reduce the number of children in the juvenile justice system. A new report from Voices for Utah Children shows that, while these efforts have successfully decreased juvenile arrests, it has disproportionately benefit...

"Life without hope may be one of the cruelest punishments, and life without parole offers no hope, no motivation to work...
09/26/2020
Ohio Senate passes juveniles criminal sentencing reform bill

"Life without hope may be one of the cruelest punishments, and life without parole offers no hope, no motivation to work hard, seek forgiveness, or change to become a better person."

State Senator Nate Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, co-sponsored the bill. "If our prisons are truly meant for rehabilitation, then we should let them rehabilitate these young adults, because they do have the capacity to change and mature," Manning said in a statement...

"A bill that would make it easier for young people abused in residential facilities to hold those institutions accountab...
09/24/2020
Juvenile abuse bill prompted by Glen Mills investigation passes House

"A bill that would make it easier for young people abused in residential facilities to hold those institutions accountable in court is one step closer to becoming law."

The bill, which will now move to the Senate, would eliminate obstacles for youths to file lawsuits while they’re still detained in the residential facilities where they're being abused.

A new report on policing in Massachusetts schools will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22, by Strategies for Yo...
09/21/2020
Policing in Schools — CfJJ

A new report on policing in Massachusetts schools will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22, by Strategies for Youth and Citizens for Juvenile Justice at a live online event. The report shows that SROs do not protect students from external threats but harm students by their presences, especially students of color and a panel of experts will be on hand to discuss the report. https://www.cfjj.org/policing-in-schools

This event will be live streamed to the public on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/citizensforjuvenilejustice/) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHcceao64Kxx0fNw6Ab_rFQ) on September 22nd at 2pm and the report will be publicly released then.
@citizensforjuvenilejustice
@StrategiesForYouth
@mtwyouth
@elevatedthought
@FFREEducation

An uprising of activism and widespread protests against police brutality in the summer of 2020 have led to a renewed focus on the role, purpose and need for police in schools. The presence of police in schools has been felt in urban, predominantly Black and brown communities for decades and increase...

"I was a kid. I really was, but they'll call you 'boy' all the way up until they charge you like a man and sentence you ...
09/15/2020
He was wrongfully imprisoned for 8 years, now he's a defense lawyer

"I was a kid. I really was, but they'll call you 'boy' all the way up until they charge you like a man and sentence you as if you are one."

NJDC Board Member Jarrett Adams knows first-hand what happens when young people don't have great lawyers.

Jarrett Adams is a criminal defense lawyer who has dedicated his career to bringing justice to those who are underserved. But his first and most profound experience with the law came with trying to prove his own innocence after being wrongfully imprisoned for nearly a decade.

“It shocked me the first time I went into the facility. What I saw is something that I expected you might find in a deve...
09/14/2020
Age, neglect and vandalism in facilities endanger some youth, critics say

“It shocked me the first time I went into the facility. What I saw is something that I expected you might find in a developing country, and I certainly was shocked to see that Charleston, which is one of the richest counties and cities in South Carolina, would treat children this way.”

Aging and neglected juvenile detention facilities across the nation continue to endanger some youth and hamper rehabilitation, leaving offenders in prisonlike conditions that often are cramped, unsanitary, archaic and poorly

09/14/2020
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

14 million kids attend schools that have cops but no nurses or counselors. #DefendChildren

Correspondent Mike Brown gets an education from Dr. Monique Morris, Dream Cannon, Nathaniel Genene, and Jesse Hagopian in all the reasons School Resource Officers should be in schools. Just kidding, there aren’t any!

"Remote technology has been a vital tool for courts in the midst of a public health crisis. But the use of remote techno...
09/11/2020
The Impact of Video Proceedings on Fairness and Access to Justice in Court

"Remote technology has been a vital tool for courts in the midst of a public health crisis. But the use of remote technology — and its possible expansion — also raises critical questions about how litigants’ rights and their access to justice may be impacted, either positively or negatively, and what courts and other stakeholders can do to mitigate any harms."

Increasing use of remote video technology poses challenges for fair judicial proceedings. Judges should adopt the technology with caution.

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2020 Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit October 15-17, 2020 Virtual WHO ELSE IS IN KANSAS CITY, MO. for THE VIRTUAL SUMMIT?
Could you please sign, share and promote this petition to help me free this woman imprisoned since age 17 just for killing a rapist!? https://www.change.org/p/mike-parson-free-lisa-dawn-harris and this one too https://www.change.org/p/state-of-texas-vs-ashley-ervin-help-us-get-justice-for-ashley-ervin-free-her-now
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089M41RBJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_5Ec4Eb4B8S9GG?fbclid=IwAR1-tvxRHtDUpg9yWswLSMEGhSMDMvkXyBAgHMdqZLjc9ayXvs3_d5fISVc Please support the National Freedom and Justice Movement by ordering your copy of Barz Beyond Barz Magazine. With your 10 dollar contribution, we can afford to keep the movement afloat. We feature writings and stories about Confined Citizens across the country. Some seeking help for their cases, others writing about life and society, while others contribute poetry and creative writing. Plus we empower our readers with Human Rights Resources and ways to continue to stand up for justice. Do you have a loved one behind the walls? Do you know someone who is currently or formerly incarcerated who is an artist or writer? Then we want to hear from you. We can also ship directly to you with a 10.00 donation to CashApp ($QueenTahiyrah) or direct mail Kebuka Publishing INK 1623 Dalton Street #14939 Cincinnati Ohio 45250. Thank you for your love and support! Sincerely, Queen Tahiyrah Asafo Ali, Publisher and Editor KEBUKA PUBLISHING INK
Michael Lambrix will be executed on October 5. He needs a clemency hearing to help prove his innocence. Please sign the petition. SAVE Michael "Mike" Lambrix prisoner on death row in Florida Case of Mike Lambrix, his innocence, on death row in the USA, news, updates...See More SAVE Innocents campaign Innocence and the death penalty save-innocents.com SAVE Innocents campaign Innocence and the death penalty SAVE-INNOCENTS.COM ALSO HERE IS A SUGGESTED LETTER FOR THE GOVERNOR................ URGENT REQUEST! MICHAEL LAMBRIX EXECUTION IS SET FOR 10/5/17. PLEASE CONTACT THE GOVERNOR TO MAKE YOU OPINION KNOWN. SILENCE IMPLIES CONSENT. Governor Rick Scott: Tel: 850-488-7146 Email: [email protected] Address: Office of Governor Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol 400, S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-000, USA. Dear Sir, I am writing to you about the case of Cary Michael Lambrix, #482053, with the purpose to respectfully ask for a clemency hearing on his behalf. Michael Lambrix is scheduled for execution on 10/5/2017. I am [describe who you are, any particular moral, human or personal reason why you are writing to them). This case is unique enough that it should compel the State of Florida to grant a special attention to under the form of an official clemency hearing (his last clemency hearing was held over thirty years ago). Many reasons could be given in support of such a hearing, such as: 1. The inordinate length of time already served 2. He has never been given the opportunity to present his version of events as a coherent whole. The members of the Cabinet deserve to hear the full story. 3. Lambrix’s version of events (manslaughter in self-defence) remains credible. By contrast, the case against him appears in many ways legally contentious: - The key witness changed the story she told the police several times - The key witness admitted in court to having had a sexual affair with the State’s lead investigator - Another leading witness later retracted her evidence - Key forensic evidence has gone missing or is unavailable for testing (namely fingernail scrapings and the tire iron) - The State theory of the sequential killing of the two victims appears to many questionable at best. 4. The jury verdicts were not unanimous, but 8-4 and 10-2. Should Mike Lambrix be tried today, he would NOT have been sentenced to death. 5. Mike Lambrix has twice refused offers of a plea-bargain, even though had he done so he would long since have been free. However, there is one human picture that the courts will not be able to address: Mike Lambrix is a man of exceptional intelligence and personal resolve who has educated himself in prison and managed to make his experience valuable to others. He will be next year part of a major exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, and his writings, his advice to others on how to pursue legitimate successful lives are already part of a wider, burgeoning effort to educate and encourage the public. Sincerely,