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From a Lawyer's View: Juvenile First-Degree Murder Training Recap

Last week, OJD held its inaugural Juvenile First Degree Murder Training. Over 80 attorneys and defense team members from all over the state came to learn about representing children charged with this serious offense in both in district and superior courts. Thank you to everyone that joined and made this first training a great success!

With the implementation of Raise the Age in 2019, many cases for 16 and 17 year old youth that previously started in adult court now start in juvenile court. Noticing a need to have attorneys who are familiar with the juvenile delinquency system as well as the adult criminal system, OJD is working on obtaining appointment authority in Juvenile First Degree Murder cases. With this new authority, OJD would be responsible for maintaining a list of attorneys who are qualified and willing to take on these important cases. A part of the qualification process is obtaining training on representing these youth. This training is our first training to prepare attorneys to be on this list.

At the training, attorneys interested in representing charged with first degree murder learned about the differences between juvenile delinquency court and adult criminal court. They learned about important hearings in juvenile court and how to preserve the record after a child is transferred to adult superior court. Our speakers also taught about youth brain development, how to utilize expert assistance in their cases, Miller sentencing hearings, and the importance of mitigation experts.

Additionally, OJD also unveiled our new First Degree Murder Quick Guide, which gives attorney an overview of the important process, procedure, and terminology differences when representing children charged with this offense. Attorneys received this resource and many also grabbed copies of our other Quick Guides on Secured Custody, Transfer, Capacity, Juvenile Delinquency 101, and Suppression. All of our presenters also provided copies of their PowerPoints and some even provided additional resources for attorneys to utilize in their practice. If you couldn’t make the training, these resources are now uploaded on the Defender Portal section of our website (please contact LaTobia Avent) if you need the password.

This training could not happen without the support and assistance of the entire OJD team, assistance of the technology and facilities staff at the Administrative Office of Courts, the great lunch provided by the Lady Justice Café, and all our great speakers. We are grateful to Dustin Pittman, Dr. Cindy Cottle, Kellie Mannette, Robert Singagliese, and Jenny Alford for presenting and teaching at this training! Thank you all for your help and time making this first training a success!

We are grateful for the interest, reception, and momentum created by this training. We have already heard stories of defenders utilizing resources and tips learned in their practices. If you couldn’t make it this time, OJD plans to host another First-Degree Murder training soon. We are currently planning and finalizing details but be on the lookout for more information soon!

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