Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Nevada High Court Upholds Law Requiring Registration for Juvenile Sex Offenders, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

In a narrow 4-3 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a state law requiring the registration of certain juvenile sex offenders, even though all seven of the court’s justices had written previously that the law may not be an effective crime deterrent.

The majority opinion was penned by Justice Michael Douglas, who wrote that the law, which took effect in 2007, “easily passes rational basic review.” However, Douglas also wrote that he had questions as to whether the law commendably serves a public safety purpose or aides juveniles in the rehabilitation process.

“Of upmost concern,“ Douglas wrote, “it does not appear from the legislative history that the Nevada Legislature ever considered the impact of the bill on juveniles.”

The decision overturns a ruling issued by a juvenile district judge in Clark County, who invalidated the law. Under the law, juveniles over the age of 14 who have been adjudicated delinquent for sexual offenses must register with local law enforcement officials, who may then share the offender’s information with public groups.

OP-ED: House and Senate Committees Gut Funding to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

This past week, the House and Senate Appropriators approved substantial reductions in juvenile justice funding, including critical funding to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. The House bill contains only $20 million for all states to implement Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The Senate bill recommends $50 million. Both are well below the president’s proposed $70 million.

We shouldn’t let them make these cuts and here’s why:

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was established in 1974 to provide federal standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system. Title II of the law, which articulates core protections for system-involved youth to help states ensure young people are treated fairly and humanely, was updated more than 20 years ago with the “Disproportionate Minority Confinement” (DMC) provision. This provision requires that states, as a condition of receiving federal funds, identify and address the disproportionate confinement of youth of color in the juvenile justice system.

MY WHOLE FAMILY IS DRUG ABUSERS AND CRIMINALS, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

“I’m from Johnson County. I’ve been here 4 months. I’ve been in seven times. First charge was damage to property—aiding and abetting (fleeing from cops) when I was 12-years old. My Mom came to see me. She comes every weekend from Lawrence. It’s about a 30-45 minute drive. She’s unemployed. Dad works in Olathe and visits every weekend. He works at a warehouse. I have two brothers. One is 15—in jail at Douglas County- battery and grand theft auto. The 13 year old is on ISP (intense supervised probation.) I have a 19-year-old sister who is finished with her term for shoplifting … and a 10-year-old sister – no trouble. My whole family is drug abusers and criminals. My Mom is four years recovered — clean from crack and alcohol. My Aunt did a year in Federal [prison] in Texas … for driving with a child in a car while intoxicated. This is my first LONG stay. I have been to ACT (Adolescent Center for Treatment) for rehab … It’s around the corner. Out patient rehabilitation when I was 13-14. I was on probation for battery. Assault is when you defend — battery is when you initiate. I was in junior high and living with my dad because my mom was in rehab. Then I moved in with my mom in Lawrence. I attended another middle school … kicked out for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute … Weed, meth, pills. I was 14.

Esther Kim

About Esther Kim

Esther Kim is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduate from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus in Chinese Language and Literature. As an undergraduate, she worked one summer at the Citizens' Committee for Children, New York, a child advocacy organization, where she developed an interest in children's rights, community after-school resources, and immigration. Esther has recently been selected to be an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation, at Lone Star Legal Aid, where she will be working closely with Asian victims of domestic violence in Harris and Fort Bend Counties.

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