North Carolina sits four days away from implementation of the most significant change to juvenile court jurisdiction since the inception of the juvenile delinquency system 100 years ago. Beginning on December 1, 2019, most offenses alleged to have been committed by 16- and 17-year-olds will begin under juvenile jurisdiction. G.S. 7B-1501(7)b, G.S. 7B-1604(b). This change will shift the procedures that law enforcement must follow when processing 16- and 17-year-olds for these now juvenile offenses from criminal procedures to juvenile procedures. The good news, as Jeff Ledford, Chief of Police in Shelby, N.C., put it—if an officer knows how to take a 13-year-old into custody today, that officer knows how to take a 16- or 17-year-old into custody on December 1st. This blog provides three key tips for law enforcement to follow and links to a short training video and job aid developed specifically for law enforcement training on raise the age. Continue reading
Training efforts to support implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, or “raise the age,” are in full swing. With the December 1, 2019 implementation date drawing near, I have had the pleasure of teaching about the new law at many fall conferences and at five regional workshops. Common questions have been raised across these venues. This blog contains answers to some of those commonly asked questions as well as information on how to access further training and resources. Continue reading →
Believe it or not, there is new juvenile delinquency law to wrap your head around other than the Juvenile Jurisdiction Reinvestment Act, which will raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction as of December 1, 2019. The 2019 legislative session resulted in several new laws related to juvenile delinquency cases that
- change the capacity to access teen court,
- establish new rules regarding photographing of some juveniles at the time of a show-up,
- create parental access to counsel in the context of Department of Social Services (DSS) placements as delinquency and undisciplined dispositions,
- establish new information sharing capacity between attorneys representing juveniles in child welfare and juvenile justice matters, and
- ease requirements for victims of human trafficking to access a juvenile expunction.
There is also an entirely new Article added to Chapter 7B of the General Statutes devoted to the rights of victims of delinquent acts. I will provide an overview of the delinquency-related provisions of the newly enacted legislation below. You can also access a bulleted summary of the 2019 enacted delinquency legislation on the juvenile law microsite. Several of these new statutes touch on other areas of law, such as child welfare and criminal procedure. Those provisions are outside the scope of this blog post and the bulleted summary. Continue reading →
Session Law 2019-186, enacted on August 1, 2019, put the finishing touches on the new law that will raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in North Carolina beginning on December 1, 2019. The modifications include clarification on which offense will remain outside of juvenile court jurisdiction, an expanded timeline for probable cause hearings in some instances, and a new option to remand some cases that have been transferred to superior court back to district court for juvenile processing. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or confused by raise the age, fear not. A raise the age workshop is coming to an area near you this fall. Stick with me to the end of this blog and you will find links to get to the registration page. Continue reading →
Have you ever been deeply enmeshed in a project, thought it was done, and when you returned with fresh eyes realized that you missed something important? That has happened for me when, for example, I painted the walls of my son’s bedroom only to walk in the next day with fresh eyes and realize that I should have painted the trim as well. And then it happened again as I was working on a chapter in the forthcoming Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act Implementation Guide and realized that there is an amendment contained in the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (JJRA), that will take effect on December 1, 2019, that changes one piece of the recently released Juvenile Law Bulletin, Delinquency and DSS Custody without Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency: How Does that Work?. The change limits the court’s authority to order DSS custody as a component of a delinquency disposition, allowing this disposition only for juveniles under the age of 18. This limiting language creates a clear age boundary for an initial order of disposition to DSS custody in a delinquency case. However, questions remain regarding the capacity for a juvenile to remain in DSS custody pursuant to a delinquency dispositional order after turning 18. Continue reading →
My colleague, Sara DePasquale, and I were excited to release a new Juvenile Law Bulletin two weeks ago—Delinquency and DSS Custody without Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency: How Does that Work? We were also exhausted. While the laws that allow for courts to order juveniles into DSS custody in a delinquency proceeding are short, their implications are broad and complex. Sara’s blog announcing the bulletin, Extra! Extra! Read All About It! New Juvenile Law Bulletin – Delinquency and DSS Custody without Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency: How Does that Work?, provides some suggestions about reading the bulletin in bite-sized chunks. Now that readers have had a chance to do that, let’s focus on a few of the key points for delinquency practitioners.
- the proceeding remains a delinquency proceeding although the juvenile is in the custody of DSS;
- the only attorney who will represent a juvenile placed in DSS custody through a delinquency proceeding is the juvenile’s counsel in the delinquency matter;
- termination of probation does not automatically terminate DSS custody; and
- implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. “raise the age”) could result in a new challenge for DSS placements.
I have had the pleasure of working here at the School of Government for eight months now. In that time I have gotten some interesting questions about North Carolina’s delinquency laws. Most often, those questions relate to the confidentiality of juvenile court records. When I first read the statute – G.S. 7B-3000 – I thought it was an open and shut case. Unless you are on the list of people allowed access without a court order, access can only be allowed pursuant to a court order. But then the questions started to come in. Who exactly is the juvenile’s attorney under this statute? Can any prosecutor access juvenile records any time? Can a federal court order disclosure of a North Carolina juvenile record? On what basis can courts order release of juvenile records? It turns out that it’s not open and shut at all. Here is what I have learned so far. Continue reading →
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA) is the central federal law that establishes core requirements for state juvenile justice systems. 34 USC §111. In return for compliance with these core requirements, the statute authorizes federal funding for states to use in their juvenile justice systems. The JJDPA expired in 2007 and was recently reauthorized in the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018. Public Law No 115-385. The reauthorized statute made several significant amendments to the JJDPA. In this blog post I will discuss three of the highlights: a new focus on evidence-based and promising programs and practices, changes in the disproportionate minority contact core requirement, and new requirements regarding identification and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Continue reading →
North Carolina now sits ten months away from implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (JJRA), widely referred to as “Raise the Age.” I had the opportunity to attend a summit hosted by Justice Initiatives in Charlotte last week focused on readiness for raise the age implementation. The recent report from the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JJAC) is full of information about what still needs to be done for optimal implementation. The recommendations contain two major themes: provide legislative fixes to avoid unintended consequences and fully fund the new system. Continue reading →
Last week the Court of Appeals breathed new life into a decades-old law that requires district courts to refer juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent, prior to disposition, to the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services director for an interdisciplinary evaluation if any evidence that the juvenile is mentally ill has been presented. This new decision, In the Matter of E.M., __ N.C.App. __ (January 15, 2019), raises many questions like, does it really mean any evidence of mental illness? And does it matter if the juvenile has already received mental health services? And who is the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services director anyways? Continue reading →