Category Archives: Juvenile Law

News update: Juveniles broke out of a Nashville detention center

According to an article in The Tennessean, several juveniles being held in the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville, Tennessee escaped from their bedrooms in the middle of the night on May 7, 2014. The children made it to the outdoor courtyard on the detention center’s campus, but they were caught before they actually […]

Not all children will see the light of day outside of the prison walls

From Erik Eckholm at the New York Times: In decisions widely hailed as milestones, the United States Supreme Court in 2010 and 2012 acted to curtail the use of mandatory life sentences for juveniles, accepting the argument that children, even those who are convicted of murder, are less culpable than adults and usually deserve a […]

Where Is the Justice for Juvenile Sexual Assault Victims?

Approximately 44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18.  Further, 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, and 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.  After reviewing a couple recent cases, it is easy to see why sexual assaults are not routinely reported to the police. […]

Outside the Box Punishments

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, an Oklahoma District Court Judge sentenced a seventeen year old to 10 years of church, as punishment for manslaughter.  The stipulation was part of a 10-year deferred sentence based on the guilty plea. This particular judge is well known for requiring church attendance as part of probation agreements.  Besides the […]

DNA and Juvenile Offenders

We have seen DNA testing change the way police investigations are conducted, and in some instances, we see the fortuitous consequence of wrongly convicted prisoners being released from jail.  Undoubtedly, there are many positive results of DNA testing, but are the results always so positive? Currently, thirty-five states collect DNA from convicted juveniles.  In one […]

Courthouse Dogs Calm Testifying Juveniles

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” ― Dean Koontz, False Memory Several programs exist across the country in which prosecutors and defense counsel use professionally trained dogs to help ease the anxiety juveniles experience while […]

Our 2nd Amendment Rights May Be Killing Our Children

The 2nd Amendment Gun Control and interpreting the 2nd Amendment has always been a hot button topic.  Some people, like myself, believe that no one but law enforcement should have access to guns.  Others believe that taking away a gun is a violation of their constitutional right to bear arms: A well regulated militia, being […]

Bryan ISD Investigated for School-Based Ticketing Due To Disparate Impact on African-American Students

From NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: In a letter sent to LDF, the U.S. Department of Education has confirmed it will investigate a complaint  that we and Texas Appleseed filed which challenges the “disparate impact” that Bryan school district’s practice of issuing criminal citations for minor misbehavior has on African-American students, who are ticketed at […]

What the United States and Somalia Have in Common

The United States is one of the only countries in the world that sentences people to die in prison for crimes they committed prior to their eighteenth birthday.  In other words, the United States is unique in that it allows, and in fact sometimes requires, our justice system to sentence individuals to life in prison […]

Massachusetts Raises Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction to Age 18

On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation which raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years.  The legislation, H. 1432 “An Act Expanding Juvenile Jurisdiction,” expands juvenile court jurisdiction to 17-year-olds accused of crimes, and also provides for them to be ordered into the custody of the Department […]

Defending with Education

This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Juvenile Division.  There are so many wonderful things they do for their clients, but one of the most impressive things they offer is their Legal Education Advocacy Program.  Lauren Brady Blalock is the Education Lawyer for the program, and […]

The Future of Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles

From the Editorial Board at The New York Times: Young people are different. The Supreme Court has delivered that message repeatedly over the last decade in limiting or flatly prohibiting the most severe criminal punishments for those under 18 at the time of their crime. In 2005, the court banned the death penalty for juveniles. […]