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Week in Review: March 21-25

Counting down til' the clock strikes 5 may be one of the longest feelings on a Friday, but here we are. It's almost the weekend and OJD has another blog for you before we all go enjoy some sun since it is officially Spring.

Tip of the Week - Right to Pretrial Release

N.C.G.S. § 7B-2405 provides that the Court shall protect certain rights of the juvenile in adjudicatory hearings for undisciplined and delinquency matters. It specifically states that juveniles are afforded all rights afforded adult offenders except the right to bail, the right of self-representation, and the right of trial by jury. Counsel should be aware of the possibility of secure custody pending disposition for juveniles adjudicated in the juvenile courts. However, what happens following an order to transfer the youth to Superior Court?

N.C.G.S. § 7B-2204 provides that “the juvenile has the right to pretrial release as provided in G.S. 15A-533 and G.S. 15A-534.” Counsel should review both statutes and be prepared to argue for pretrial release immediately upon entry of the order to transfer. Note that 15A-533(b) states that a defendant “charged with a noncapital offense must have conditions of pretrial release determined in accordance with 15A-534.” As all juveniles are ineligible for capital punishment, all should receive conditions of pretrial release but note the exceptions listed and argue that prior adjudications are not convictions for purposes of those exceptions.

G.S.15A-534 sets out five conditions and states that the Court must impose at least one. Those conditions are release on written promise to appear; release upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond; placement in the custody of a designated person or organization who agrees to supervise the juvenile/defendant; require an appearance bond secured by cash deposit, mortgage, or at least one solvent surety; and house arrest with electronic monitoring. If released to a specific person (often termed a custody release) such as the parent or guardian, “the defendant may elect to execute an appearance bond instead. There is a presumption in favor of release under one of the first three conditions unless the judicial official determines there is a risk of failing to appear, danger of injury to any person or release is likely to result in the destruction of evidence, subornation of perjury, or intimidation of witnesses. (See 15A-534(b)).

Counsel should review and be familiar with all of G.S. 15A-534 as well as local bond guidelines and programs available to the youth including counseling services and pretrial release programs. There may be restrictions on age-associated with pretrial release programs and other facilities so counsel should carefully consult with such programs prior to court.

Counsel should contact OJD with any questions or assistance with matters involving transfer.

OJD Back On the Road!

Terri, Burcu, and Yolanda visited Gaston County on Tuesday where Terri presented about Transfer to local attorneys. With Raise the Age, school back in person, and summer approaching, it's important that our defenders understand the rules of transfer and ways to fight against it. The group did an awesome job answering questions and sharing tips on how to succeed.

Eric spoke on a panel Wednesday in Wake County about the Fundamentals of Juvenile Justice to local law enforcement. It's important to have a standing relationship with law enforcement so they better understand the nature of juvenile justice and how to proceed in situations that arise with youth. The panel address an array of questions and worked together to enlighten and inform.

New Post from Jacqui Greene & The School of Government - On the Civil Side

To keep reading this post from Jacqui Greene, click here.



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