Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Court Ruling Prompts State to Review Juvenile Sentencing Laws, The Advocate

LAFAYETTE — Nearly 300 Louisiana prison inmates have a stake in this year’s legislative session where lawmakers will rewrite sentencing statutes for juveniles who are 17 or younger when they commit murder.

Current laws in Louisiana and some other states mandate that juveniles who are tried as adults for murder face the same penalty as an adult convicted of murder — life without parole or reduction of sentence. Adults, although not juveniles, are subject to the death penalty if convicted in a case prosecuted as a capital murder.

Louisiana’s law is in line for changes as a result of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision titled Miller v. Alabama. The nation’s high court ruled in that case that automatic life sentences for youths violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment…

Indiana Supreme Court Requires Mediation in the Lawsuit Over Juvenile Court Vacancy, nwi.com

The Indiana Supreme Court is ordering mediation in the Lake Superior Court judges and magistrates’ legal tussle over how to fill the Lake Juvenile Court vacancy, court records filed Monday show.

Lake Juvenile Court magistrates Glenn Commons, Jeffery Miller and Charlotte Peller sued last month to stop Lake Superior Court Judge Nicholas Schiralli from taking the position vacated by former Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura. Bonaventura left the bench to become the new director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Schiralli, who did not go through merit selection, had planned to transfer into the Lake Juvenile Court vacancy based on seniority, even though his move would violate a state law prohibiting the transfer of a judge who has not gone through merit selection…

Lisa Steffek

About Lisa Steffek

Lisa Steffek is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. Lisa completed her Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Texas in Human Development and Family Sciences. As an undergraduate, Lisa worked as a research assistant studying child attachment. Lisa also worked for several years at The Settlement Home, a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescent females. Most of the girls at The Settlement Home had been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services, and Lisa worked with the girls to teach them life-skills and provided psychological treatment to prepare them for adulthood and the transition to foster homes. Lisa also worked for six years in various academic capacities at the University of Texas, including an undergraduate teaching assistant, graduate research assistant, and undergraduate writing consultant. Lisa has presented papers regarding human development at various academic conferences in the states and abroad, and has had her writing published in an international, academic journal.

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