Once again, Friday is here, and how grateful we are. That doesn't mean we aren't going to wrap up this week with some resources, tips, and announcements. Let's get started!
Tip of the Week-Disposition Hearing and Drafting a Disposition Report
Every stage of a juvenile proceeding is important, especially to the child and family. Often the focus can be centered on secure custody hearings and the result of adjudication but don’t forget disposition. Preparation early can lead to a dismissal or a six-month disposition continued. Counsel should review not only the dispositional alternatives in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2506, but the hearing procedures in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2501.
Note that under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2501, hearings may be informal, and the court may consider any evidence including hearsay, that the court finds to be “relevant, reliable, and necessary to determine the needs of the juvenile and the most appropriate disposition.” Counsel can argue for more formality in the hearing process. Have witnesses sworn and placed on the witness stand to testify. Ask questions of each witness and object if the testimony or documents are not relevant or reliable or if they are simply not necessary for the determination of the child’s needs. Ask specifically if the juvenile court counselor used the short or long-form YASI for assessment of risk and needs and if they met the juvenile and family in person or remotely to conduct the assessment. In either case, ask if all questions on the form were asked and, if not, question the reliability of the assessment.
Pay particular attention to N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7B-2501(c) and (d) and consider drafting your own disposition report. In selecting a disposition, the court shall consider (1) the seriousness of the offense, (2) the need to hold the juvenile accountable, (3) the importance of protecting public safety, (4) the degree of culpability indicated by the circumstances of the particular case, and (5) the rehabilitative and treatment needs of the juvenile indicated by the risk and needs assessment. Under In re I.W.P., 259 N.C. App. 254, 815 S.E.2d 696 (2018), the court is required to consider each of the factors set out in § 7B-2501(c) and enter findings of fact regarding each factor. In drafting a dispositional report, counsel can direct the court’s attention to the statutory factors and information favorable to the juvenile. Include assessments, reference letters on behalf of your client, school records, work records, and portions of discovery such as statements of witnesses, if necessary, to address all factors including the degree of culpability. Request the specific disposition you believe to be most appropriate for your client which may include the possibility of dismissal under § 7B-2501(d). Include an argument regarding why the requested disposition is the most appropriate disposition using a framework that addresses each statutory factor.
Finally, if assistance is needed, contact OJD with any questions or concerns.
Upcoming Webinar Hosted by Harvard Law School
Neuroscience and Criminal Law: The Post-Jones Landscape for Late Adolescents and Emerging Adults
This panel discussion hosted by the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior and the Petrie-Flom Center will survey the current landscape of cases and legislation focused on crafting developmentally aligned frameworks for responding to misconduct by younger adolescents, late adolescents (ages 18 – 20) and emerging adults (21 – 25), including “raising the age” of full criminal culpability past age 18. The contributions of neuroscience to informing a developmentally aligned jurisprudence for late adolescents and emerging adults will be reviewed.
February 9, 2022 from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM EST
Online – register here
Please visit the event website for more information.
*OJD does not have any CLE information regarding this webinar.
Job Opportunity at NCJC!
The IT Help Desk at NC Judicial Center is hiring for a IT Help Desk Specialist II. They are accepting applications until January 21st. Please note the position requirements and skills, and if this is a match, feel free to apply! The position will report directly to Brian Mackey and Chad Everett.
This role description, requirements and qualifications can be found at the link below: