Friday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Shake-up Underway at Federal Office of Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Major changes in leadership, structure and funding are underway at the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, changes that are likely to impact the way the office extends assistance to the field.

For starters, the office will soon get its first permanent chief in more than four years. Robert Listenbee Jr., a widely-praised juvenile defense attorney from Philadelphia and the Obama administration’s pick for office administrator, will probably start work by early next month, several nationally connected juvenile justice leaders said.

Penalties for Falsely Reporting Child Abuse, ChildLaw Blog

The Jerry Sandusky criminal trial is over; the civil lawsuits are in active settlement mode. Undoubtedly, the entire country is more tuned into child abuse than it ever was. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that about 105 bills on the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect have been introduced in 2012 legislative sessions in 30 states and the District of Columbia. All of them include a penalty for failing to report suspected child abuse.

Friday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Texas high court to consider whether SCOTUS’ Miller ruling on juvie LWOP is retroactive, Grits for Breakfast

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals this week agreed to hear arguments in Ex Parte Terrell to determine whether the Supreme Court’s Miller v. Alabama – a case which banned life without parole (LWOP) sentences for juveniles if lesser options weren’t offered – applies retroactively in Texas. As I understand it, there were around 28 Texas prisoners convicted of capital murder at age 17 between 2005, when LWOP was made a sentencing option for adults, and 2009 when the Legislature eliminated life without parole for juveniles 16 and under. Currently, juveniles sentenced to capital life are eligible for parole after 40 years.

Exclusive Interview with Robert Listenbee, Incoming Head of Federal Office of Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange spoke on the phone Monday with defense attorney Robert Listenbee Jr., who was recently picked by President Barack Obama to lead the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice. The office has not had a permanent administrator for four years. Listenbee, who has not yet received a formal federal appointment, continues to head the juvenile unit at the Defenders Association of Philadelphia in the meantime.

Kids, Cops, and Confessions: Inside the Interrogation Room, Juvenile Justice Blog (book review)

Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Burmese Army and Armed Groups Still Recruiting Children, The Huffington Post

On January 11, Burma’s Mergui Islands were featured as one of the “The 46 Places to Go in 2013” in The New York Times. A few days later, three civilians were killed after the Burmese army indiscriminately shelled the town of Laiza as part of an offensive against the non-state armed group Kachin Independent Army (KIA). Laiza, the de facto headquarters of the KIA, sits on the border of China almost 2,000 miles north of the Mergui archipelago. Yet the juxtaposition of these two narratives underscores Burma’s schizophrenic transition to nascent democracy and the challenges remaining for those committed to building upon the country’s fragile reforms. Central to these challenges is addressing the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Burmese military and non-state armed groups, in particular the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

President Obama Announced his Intent to Appoint Robert Listenbee Jr. for Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Department of Justice, White House Office of the Press Secretary

Robert Listenbee,  Jr. is Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, a position he has held since 1997.  He has also been a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia since 1986.  Previously, from 1991 to 1997, Mr. Listenbee was Assistant Chief of the Juvenile Unit.  He is a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which advises the Governor of Pennsylvania on juvenile justice policy.

Study: ‘Teach Children That it is Dangerous to Eat Dirt or Soil’, The Atlantic

Toxacora, parasitic worms that grow in the intestines of puppies and kittens, release their eggs into the environment via the puppies’ and kittens’ feces. When the eggs worm their way into the soil or other surfaces on which puppies and kittens poop, and are then accidentally ingested by humans (people not washing their hands after gardening or kids playing in the dirt), the resulting infection, or toxocariasis, can cause vision loss and possibly even asthma and epilepsy.

How much a particular city is at risk of toxocariasis depends on how many animals are defecating in the streets and how much of that gets picked up and properly disposed of. Also, on whether people are deworming their puppies . . . the CDC recommends that parents “teach children that it is dangerous to eat dirt or soil.” Healthy habits begin at home.

The full study,Quantifying sources of environmental contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs,” ispublished in the journal Veterinary Parasitology.