Category Archives: Juvenile Law

Houston School Board Refuses To Ban Suspensions

Despite the fact that school boards across the country have banned school suspensions, Texas has yet to join the growing trend. Five Houston ISD school board members voted to keep school suspensions as a last resort for teachers who are “deal(ing) with kids who they can’t contain” in pre-kindergarten through second grade classrooms. The rejected plan also included […]

LGBTQ Homeless Youth at Risk, Part 1 of 3

Homeless youth, sometimes referred to as “unaccompanied” youth, are individuals under the age of 18 who lack parental, foster, or institutional care. Youth become homeless for a variety of reasons, but rarely by choice. Factors contributing to youth homelessness include family dysfunction, sexual abuse, “aging out” of the foster care system, exiting the juvenile justice system, […]

Federal Government Investigates Dallas Truancy Courts

  Late last March, the Department of Justice announced a federal investigation of the Dallas County Texas Truancy courts.  Based on preliminary investigations, the Justice Department estimated that in 2014, Dallas County prosecuted over 20,000 children for missing class.  Punishing students for truancy may be understandable, but in Dallas students can be arrested in front of their […]

Raising the Age: Is Texas Going “Soft on Crime?”

In the past decade, the Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty and mandatory life without parole for crimes committed while under the age of eighteen amount to cruel and unusual and are therefore unconstitutional.[1] [2] The Court, or at least a majority of it, appears to believe eighteen is the appropriate age to […]

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 […]