Tuesday’s Children & the Law News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reformed, Youngstown News

In February 2004, the detention hall at the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center housed kids two to a room, and the population crept toward 90 in a facility with 40 rooms.  It was in this environment that a 17-year-old teenager was raped by his cell mate, who purportedly was a known sexual predator.

Court Administrator Anthony D’Apolito, also a magistrate, took his post in 2006, near the end of the cases. One of the first changes he made was to ban double-bunking in the center. “I never wanted to ever have an opportunity for that to happen again,” he said of the rape.

Now, the average population in the center is 32.  D’Apolito receives daily reports from the detention center, which is part of the juvenile court complex on the East Side. A juvenile can stay in detention for one day if committed on a “status offense,” such as truancy, curfew violation or unruly juvenile. The average stay is 9 days compared with 25 days in 2006, D’Apolito said.

Bring Campus Crimes Reports Out in the Open, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The campuses of private colleges are islands of invisible crime, black boxes where even violent offenses can largely disappear from public view. The public can find out more about an assault in a private homeowner’s living room than about an assault on the quad at Notre Dame.

Court Orders University to be Notified of Child Porn Charges Against Student, NBC10 Philadelphia

A court ruling against a Lehigh County teen charged with downloading child pornography is sparking controversy.  Police found child pornography on the 17-year-old boy’s laptop in 2010. The teen had just graduated from high school and was planning on attending Temple University when he admitted to one count of sexual abuse of children, a felony. The teen’s lawyer, Gavin Holohan, tells NBC10 his client obeys the rules of his probation and has learned from his mistakes.

Alone in the American Legal System: It’s Up to Us to Help Undocumented Children, The Oregonian

A recent article in The New York Times described the crisis of undocumented children in Texas facing deportation. The story began with Juan, a 6-year-old so small he couldn’t be seen over the courtroom bench when he stood to appear before the judge.

Children in Portland who have a legitimate path to legal status are being deported all the time. Pro-bono attorneys can’t take all of these cases by themselves. There are too many children, and there are real costs associated with competent representation. These children are going through our courts, and how we treat and handle them is our local responsibility.

While we may disagree with our immigration system, we cannot penalize these children for those failings. We cannot continue to allow children to be deported simply because they do not have access to legal counsel.

Teen’s Try for Green Card is Denied, Lexington Clipper-Herald

The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday blocked a teenager’s bid to get an immigration green card based on being abandoned by his father.  The youngster, identified in the ruling only as Erick M., had hoped to qualify for “special immigrant juvenile” status under federal law.

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