Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code Recommendations for 2015 Legislative Session

The Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code published the minutes from the October 6, 2014 meeting, which included several recommendations related to juvenile law:

  1. That legislation be filed in the next session requiring that the interrogation of juveniles by law enforcement be recorded, but not by school administrators.
  2. Funding be made available to implement the mandatory appointment of counsel in juvenile cases.
  3. The General Assembly needs to address the range of ages in juvenile waiver statutes and that the Criminal Justice Institute or the Division of Court Administration should collect data concerning the number of direct file charges of juveniles in adult court.
  4. That status offenders should not be housed in the Indiana Department of Correction

The Committee also voted in favor of a recommendation that children should not be shackled in court umless the court has found that it is necessary for a specific child, but the recommendation failed because a majority of the total number of appointed Committee members did not approve of the recommendation.

To see the proposed statutes that were discussed, go here.

This blogger would like to thank the Committee for their willingness to hear a wide range of testimony and to consider the proposed statutes related to juvenile justice.  It was inspiring.  Now the real work will begin as the legislative session begins.

Posted in Anti-Shackling, Confessions, Law Enforcement, Legislation, Right to Counsel, Status Offenders, Waiver/Transfer | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Broken Promise of Brown” Harris Lecture by Julian Bond

On October 15, 2014, Julian Bond presented the Indiana University Maurer School of Law Harris Lecture, “The Broken Promise of Brown,” recognizing the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision.  Video is available here.

Julian Bond was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a past president of the NAACP, as well as a state legislator and educator.

Brown v. Board of Education abolished the policy of “separate, but equal” that allowed segregated schools across the country.  For a history of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, go here.

Posted in Education, Schools/Education | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Screening and Assessment of Youth in Confinement Webinar

On October 22, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. ET, a webinar “Screening and Assessment of Youth in Confinement” will be presented by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) with the OJJDP National Center for Youth in Custody.  “The systemic use of screening and assessment tools or instruments at key decision points in the juvenile justice system can provide information that is critical for diverting youth who do not belong in confinement to more appropriate services and placements.  Screening and assessment tools can also help confinement staff understand how to best serve youth for whom confinement is required.  This webinar will address the purpose of screening and assessment and discuss issues related to appropriate, responsible sharing and use of information obtained from these tools.”  To register, go here.

This topic is also discussed as part of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) which evaluates the conditions of confinement as part of the overall JDAI process.  For an overview of the evaluation of conditions of confinement, including tools and resources, go here.

For information about the inspections of Indiana detention centers, go here.  (Note, no 2014 inspections have been posted as of the time of this posting.)

Posted in Detention, DOC | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Impacting Our Kids’ Self-Image

I keep mulling over this quote:

“As a child he [Channing Tatum] struggled with A.D.H.D. and dyslexia, was prescribed stimulants and did poorly in school. “I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons,” he says. “Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, Okay, so this is where I’m at. Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either. So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different. The system is broken. If we can streamline a multibillion-dollar company, we should be able to help kids who struggle the way I did.””  Rob Haskell, Channing Tatum: A Work in Progress, New York Times (October 14, 2014).

How often do we put children in different programs, classrooms, schools, etc., with the hope that maybe this one will work, but with no thought of how this move could impact the child’s self-image?  Do we think about the impact on self-image of parading a shackled child through a crowded courthouse?  Do we really do our homework to evaluate the child’s needs or just use default programs and services for every kid who comes in contact with the system?

There is work to be done.

Posted in Adolescent Development, Anti-Shackling, Disposition, Education, School-to-Prison Pipeline, Schools/Education | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Early Appointment of Counsel Implementation Manual

Since this blog started, there have been posts about the need for an early appointment of counsel rule in juvenile delinquency cases, and updates on that rule-making process.  For some background, see the Early Appointment of Counsel page at the top of this site.

On January 1, 2015, Indiana Criminal Rule 25 will be implemented that specifies several times during a juvenile delinquency case when counsel must be appointed, as well as the procedure for waiver of the right to counsel, which is in addition to existing statutes and procedures.  The hope is that this new rule will result in the majority of children in Indiana having the assistance of counsel during delinquency cases.

The Children’s Law Center, Inc. in Kentucky has published the Implementation of Criminal Rule 25 Manual to give the legal background for the right to counsel in Indiana, as well as the recommended procedures for appointment and waiver of counsel.  Check it out! Implementation of Crim R 25 Manual FINAL

Posted in Right to Counsel | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Closing Arguments in Juvenile Fact-finding Hearings

A juvenile fact-finding hearing (trial) is a bench trial that in Indiana is subject to virtually all of the procedural rights and rules of any other type of bench trial, including a criminal trial.  However, because of the long history of informality in juvenile courts, the judge or the parties may be tempted to take shortcuts and avoid closing argument.

Consider this quote from a U.S. Supreme Court case:

“…the difference in any case between total denial of final argument and a concise but persuasive summation could spell the difference, for the defendant, between liberty and unjust imprisonment. Some cases may appear to the trial judge to be simple—open and shut—at the close of the evidence.  And surely in many such cases a closing argument will, in the words of Mr. Justice Jackson, be ‘likely to leave (a) judge just where it found him.’ But just as surely, there will be cases where closing argument may correct a premature misjudgment and avoid an otherwise erroneous verdict. And there is no certain way for a trial judge to identify accurately which cases these will be, until the judge has heard the closing summation of counsel.”  Herring v. New York, 422 U.S. 853, 863 (1975).

Juveniles have their liberty and a host of collateral consequences at risk if adjudicated.  For those children who choose to challenge their case through a fact-finding hearing, they deserve and are entitled to the full range of practice techniques and procedures to defend their case.

Thanks to Jackie Bullard from the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender for this quote and idea.

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When Children Witness the Arrest of a Parent

Strategies for Youth with support from the Sills Family Foundation has developed materials for law enforcement officers to use when arresting a parent in presence of children.  In the Presence of Children is a campaign to try to address the fright and trauma that children may experience when watching a parent being arrested.

The free materials for law enforcement (order here) include:

  • A protocol “check off” list based on protocols from police departments and the International Association of Chiefs of Police,
  • A guide of possible behaviors and reactions from children of various ages,
  • A card that officers can leave behind with parents or caregivers about what behaviors the children may exhibit after witnessing the event and local resources to assist the children, and
  • A teddy bear for the child to hold and help calm him or her.
Posted in Trauma | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment