National Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit 2011

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This weekend several of our scholars will be in Seattle for the annual National Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit. The Summit is a three-day conference where juvenile defenders from every state meet to discuss and learn about important issues facing our youth and those who defend them. Topics at past conferences have included immigration issues (such as the DREAM Act), technology’s effect on children, sexting, education, disabilities, race, gender, legal rights of children, LGBTQ, and bullying. Our scholars will attend break out sessions and hear from speakers about these pressing issues and will also have the opportunity to meet with juvenile defenders around the country. We look forward to learning a lot of valuable information this weekend and making new connections! Look for upcoming blog posts where we will write about what we learned.

Irene Merker Rosenberg Scholarship Program

Welcome to the second year of the Irene Merker Rosenberg Scholarship Program at the Center for Children, Law and Policy! The program is named in honor of the late Professor Rosenberg who taught at the University of Houston Law Center for 35 years. Professor Rosenberg was a leader in the field of juvenile and children’s rights. Our Scholars are selected on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to pursuing a career representing children’s interests, prior experience in related areas, and academic achievement. We started with only four scholars last year and have grown to eight! Kate and Patty are in their second year of the program and our new scholars are Alex, Cara, Chloe, Janice, Shiloh, and Ubani. To learn more about our individual scholars and Irene Merker Rosenberg, please visit our website!

Our scholars are working on several great projects this year! We will be updating resources for juvenile defenders, editing an upcoming publication on Children, Sex and the Law, planning our Spring conference (coming in March 2012!), and other projects to help children and attorneys in our community.

Is our justice system just? – Clemency for Sara Kruzan

The story of Sara Kruzan is complicated and compelling.

Growing up in Riverside, California, Sara’s life was plagued by abuse: she was molested by several men, gang raped by neighbors, and emotionally and verbally abused by her mother. Despite this abuse, Sara excelled in school, sports, and a social life. Her life changed when, at age 11, Sara met 31-year-old G.G., a man who became like a father-figure to Sara and won her trust and affection. G.G. preyed upon Sara’s vulnerability and began “grooming” her for a life of prostitution. He raped her and sexually abused her, brainwashed her into believing she should sell her body, and eventually put her to work out on the streets as a prostitute. Sara was just 13 years old. For three years, Sara was forced into the sex trafficking industry-forced to have sex with men two, three times her age.  Sara suffered from this emotional, physical, and sexual abuse until age 16 when she killed G.G., her pimp.

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