Category Archives: Juvenile Law

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. […]

Do Children Really Understand Their Miranda Rights?

In light of a recent event, in which Ashley, a 10 year old girl was arrested and interrogated for the alleged sexual assault of a 4 year old boy while playing doctor, I have begun to wonder, among other things, “Do children really understand their Miranda rights?” Miranda rights are procedural safeguards under the Constitution’s […]

UH Law Professor comments on Houston case involving 12-year-old convicted of felony

    In Houston, a 12-year-old girl was recently convicted of a felony for taking a photograph of a classmate in a locker room. Professor Marrus, from the University of Houston Law Center, was quoted in a Houston Chronicle article covering the case. Following quoted from Houston Chronicle article: ‍University ‍of ‍Houston ‍law professor Ellen Marrus […]

Playing Doctor, 10-Year-Old Girl Charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault

As reported by New York Daily News, a 10-year-old Houston girl faces charges of aggravated sexual assault after playing doctor with a young boy in her apartment complex. The girl — identified as “Ashley” — was playing with other children in her apartment complex’s courtyard in April when a witness reported that she inappropriately touched […]

Scare ‘Em Straight

In 1978, Arnold Shapiro directed a documentary called “Scared Straight!” which followed at-risk teens who had been in trouble for everything from fighting, theft, and  drug use to promiscuity, gambling and gang affiliation, as they spend a day in jail with actual inmates. The teens are confronted, yelled at, and verbally harassed by the adult […]

New Texas Laws – School Citations for Class C Misdemeanors

During this past session, the Texas legislature enrolled several laws with the hope of significantly reducing the number of children charged with Class C Misdemeanors while at school (commonly referred to as student ticketing).  While these new laws seem to encourage schools to apply alternate methods for addressing student behavior, nothing actually prevents schools from continuing the practice […]