Happy Friday! We have a lot to share this week and it's almost time to clock out and enjoy some well-earned vacation, so let's jump right in!
From the Desk of Eric Zogry: On The Road – Promising Practices
In an earlier blog, I discussed how OJD is on the road observing court and maybe learning a thing or two from the juvenile defenders we see. Here is a short list of great work that we’ve seen:
· Meet with clients before court – in many cases we’ve seen that defenders have met with their clients and parents/guardian before court. This is of critical importance to establish the attorney-client relationship, as well as being informed as much as possible about the case before even an initial hearing.
· Defend against secure custody – youth may be held in detention in different phases of the proceedings and for different statutory reasons. We’ve witnessed defenders advocate zealously to keep their clients out of detention while providing alternatives to the court.
· Negotiate – It’s been great to see that many youth, if pleading, are doing so to a lesser charge. Rarely is there any benefit to pleading “straight up” (unless there’s some other gain), and it appears that defenders understanding that limiting the youth’s exposure to court can have short- and long-term benefits.
· Object on the record – When the court rules against the youth, defenders have been objecting on the record. Not only does this preserve the court record and protect the youth’s appellate rights, it also sets up the case so that if that particular issue is re-heard, the court may reconsider its previous position.
· Follow up with OJD – What’s been particularly gratifying is defenders reaching out to our office after we visit with a question or a thought. Our office loves to talk to defenders – it’s what we do!
Hope to see you soon down the road - Eric
Black History Month Spotlight: Jasmin Griffin, Assistant Public Defender, Durham County
“Black youth experience the highest rate of racial disparity in juvenile court. Why is it important to you, as a Black attorney, to represent youth in juvenile delinquency court and why is it important to you/what does it mean to you?”
I think representation matters on all levels and in all situations. For these kids, it’s important that they have someone in court next to them to advocate for them who looks like them and has probably been in their shoes. Their comfort with their attorney and their trust in them through this process can mean the difference between making some serious life changes and coming back through the system- all because someone took the time to care and invest in who they are as people. Affecting their lives for the greater good is honestly as good as it gets.
Registration is OPEN: Juvenile Defender First Degree Murder Training
Registration for the Juvenile Defender First Degree Murder Training is now open! Click here for details about the training and to register to attend.
Gault Center13th Annual Regional Summit:
The Gault Center’s Southern Regional Center Advisory Committee is soliciting Requests for Proposals from anyone interested in presenting at our 13th Annual Regional Summit. If you are interested, please click on the link below to submit a short RFP by no later than 5 pm on March 3rd. More details included in the link. Please contact Burcu.Hensley@nccourts.org with any questions about the RFP.