Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Clayton juvenile program becomes model for state reform, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Quantavius Poole was a school brawler, a drug dealer, and he was facing five years in juvenile detention.

Now, at 17, he is a sous chef for a caterer. He hopes to enlist in the National Guard so he can pay his way through a military college. He wants to enter the Air Force.

The program that may have saved Poole, called Second Chance, is a blueprint for legislation to overhaul Georgia’s juvenile justice system. It’s credited with steeply reducing juvenile offenses in Clayton County, and its supporters believe a statewide program could save Georgia hundreds of thousands of dollars per offender.

Virginia pastor sentenced for aiding parental kidnapping, The New York Times

A Virginia pastor who said that his actions “flow out of my faith in Jesus,” was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison for abetting the international parental kidnapping of a girl in a high-profile case involving a same-sex union and the condemnation of homosexuality by conservative Christians.

Population at youth corrections facility drops, The Denver Post

State officials say a focus on rehabilitation has led to a 44 percent decrease in the number of juveniles committed to the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections over the past seven years.

John Gomez, director of youth corrections, tells The Denver Post Colorado will remove 189 beds from seven state-run and community based facilities during the next year. He says his office has successfully combined programs designed to help adolescents before they enter the justice system and has tried to stop released juveniles from returning.

Early-intervention programs have helped expand services to children and teens before they enter the justice system, reducing the number of juvenile arrests in Colorado.

With fewer detained juveniles, the Department of Human Services has asked lawmakers to move nearly $8 million from youth corrections to child welfare services.

Cornell law professors and students work for juvenile justice, The Cornell Daily Sun

On behalf of 37 juveniles in South Carolina who have been sentenced to life in prison without parole, Cornell law students and professors are working to abolish sentences that may constitute “cruel and unusual punishment,” according to Prof. John Blume, law.

In August, Blume and Keir Weyble, an adjunct professor of law, founded the Cornell Juvenile Justice Clinic, a clinic that assists juvenile defendants facing life sentences, because, according to them, juvenile sentences of life without parole should be deemed unconstitutional.

Even after the U.S. Supreme Court case of Miller v. Alabama, which upheld the ruling that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is unconstitutional, juvenile offenders in South Carolina still serve life without parole sentences, according to Blume.

Wednesday’s Children & the Law News Roundup

A New Mexico Policeman Tasered a 10-year-old Child, Courthouse News Service

A New Mexico policeman Tasered a 10-year-old child on a playground because the boy refused to clean his patrol car on career day, the boy claims in court. The complaint states that the Defendant asked a group of boys “who would like to clean his patrol unit… and a number of boys said that they would.” When Plaintiff jokingly said he did not want to clean the patrol unit, Defendant allegedly pointed his taser at the boy and said, “Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.'”

Teen charged as adult in Colorado schoolgirl’s murder, Chicago Tribune

A teenager who authorities said confessed to the abduction, killing and dismemberment of a 10-year-old Colorado girl was formally charged as an adult on Tuesday with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault on a child.

It’s better not to lock up juvenile defendants, The Philadelphia Inquirer

For years, New Jersey sent juveniles awaiting trial to county detention centers, locking them up even for minor crimes. But a new report on juvenile justice reform shows that there is another, more effective, alternative that saves taxpayer money and protects society.