Follow by Email

Saturday, December 31, 2011

whether adolescent offenders should be prosecuted in the juvenile or adult system is important

The question of whether adolescent offenders should be prosecuted in the juvenile or adult system is important

Most states’ juvenile justice systems have two main goals: increased public safety and the rehabilitation of
adolescent off enders to prevent future crime. Policymakers and others need balanced information about
the most eff ective ways to meet both goals.
Currently, North Carolina, New York, and Connecticut are the only states that prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds
charged with a crime in adult criminal court. The North Carolina General Assembly is addressing the question of
whether 16- and 17-year-olds charged with a crime should be prosecuted in juvenile court instead.
The question of whether adolescent offenders should be prosecuted in the juvenile or adult system is important
because off enders aged 16-24 account for 37 percent of arrests for violent crimes in the United States and North
Carolina. Policies that impact the frequency and duration of criminal activity among 16- and 17-year-olds have a
major impact on overall crime rates and public safety.
Th is Family Impact Seminar briefing report addresses the line between the juvenile and adults systems. A “family
impact perspective” on policymaking informs this report. Just as policymakers routinely consider the environmental
or economic impact of policies and programs, Family Impact Seminars help policymakers examine impact on
families by providing research fi ndings and evidence-based strategies.
Th is report consists of five briefs:
Brief 1 provides background and recent history on the handling of adolescent off enders in the United
States and North Carolina; a description of how the current North Carolina juvenile justice system works;
recent North Carolina juvenile justice statistics; and information on programs and facilities for adolescent
off enders in North Carolina and other states.
Brief 2 discusses research on youth development pertaining to three
issues central to policies for adolescent off enders: blameworthiness,
competence to stand trial, and the potential for an adolescent’s
character to change.
Brief 3 details how other states treat adolescent off enders.
Brief 4 discusses research on how juvenile crime rates respond to
changes in punishment laws.
Brief 5 presents three policy options and a series of further
Th e briefi ng report concludes with a glossary, a list of acronyms, a list of
additional resources,and a chart of the current legal age in NC for diff erent

juveniles housed in detention centers are awaiting an adjudicatory or dispositional hearing.
Four NC counties (Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, and
Mecklenburg) operate their own detention centers. The DOC has two main correctional institutions for
“youthful off enders.” Th ese facilities, where juveniles transferred to adult court are housed after conviction, are
Western Youth Institution (WYI) in Morganton (males only) and North Carolina Correctional Institute for
Women (NCCIW) in Raleigh (females only). Inmates at
WYI range in age from 13 to 25. (Historically, youthful offenders in DOC are off enders 21 years of age and under.
The inclusion of off enders ages 22 to 25 is a product of the declining youthful off ender population and the use of the
available space for older inmates.) NCCIW houses female inmates of all ages. DOC strives to separate older and younger inmates in both institutions.

North Carolina has three types of facilities for adolescent offenders: youth development centers, detention centers,
and correctional institutions.21 NCDJJDP operates five youth development centers and nine detention centers.
Th e NC Department of Correction (DOC) operates correctional institutions. Both departments also operate community-based services.

Youth development centers house off enders age 10 to 21 for one year, on average, and provide youth mentoring, education,
and treatment, with an emphasis on rehabilitation. In recent
years, NCDJJDP has adopted a number of evidence-based therapeutic programs in youth development centers.
Detention centers have fewer and more limited services and staff than youth development centers since the
majority of.
All off ending 16- and 17-year-olds would continue to be tried in the adult criminal system, regardless of their crime. If convicted, 16- and 17-year-olds would be sentenced in adult courts and would have permanent criminal records, unless they petition the
court to have their record expunged.

Note: Under current North Carolina law, expungement is available only for misdemeanor off enses committed prior to age 18, except for misdemeanor possession of
alcohol or drugs, and one, low-level felony for simple possession of cocaine.
Programming, treatment, and other services for
16- and 17-year-olds would continue to be operated by the Department of Correction and are similar to
those available to adults. Some of these services are designed specifi cally for youthful off enders.
Some Resource Considerations
Resources could remain at current levels; however,
state DOC officials would need to continue to develop programming for adolescent off enders and may be responsible for meeting federal requirements
for mental health, social services, and education.
Over the past few years, the NCDJJDP has been developing a continuum of evidence-based services, many of which are appropriate for 16- and 17-yearold
offenders. The services would generally not beavailable to young off enders in the adult system.

Napoleon Beazley Was Executed In Texas For A Crime Of A Juvenile In 2002

Napoleon Beazley was executed in Texas in may 2002 for a crime committed
eight years earlier, when he was 17 years old. In Feb. 2002 Napoleon's lawyers
took his case to the Inter-American Commision on Human Rights (ACHR)
In A decision published in Jan. 2004, the (ACHR) concluded that the USA had violated an International Norm of juscogens prohibiting the execution of anyone under 18 at the time of their crime. Its decision explained that
jus cogens norm is one that is binding in all countries,including the USA.
The commission concluded that Napoleon's family should be provided
with an ("effective remedy which included compensation.")

Nanon was 17 When He Was Sent To Texas Death Row.He Was 36 When Finally Released

On August 17 2010 Judge Atlas held a de novo on Nanon's case on the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Now, the state of Texas has 30 days to appeal this ruling by Judge Atlas. To appeal, they would have to go to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. But it was the 5th Circuit that ordered Nanon's case sent back to the Federal District Court for a de novo hearing. So, to us who are not lawyers, it seems unlikely the 5th Circuit would deny Atlas' ruling.

Nanon was only 17 years old when he was arrested for capital murder in 1992.
He was on Texas death row until the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the execution of juveniles
in 2005. Nanon is now 36 years old and at the Ramsey Unit south of Houston serving a life sentence.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Nanon Williams Ordered To Be RELEASED!

Nanon Williams was waiting execution on Texas's Death Row
For a crime he committed when he was 17 years old. There was serious doubts
about his guilt. False Balistics,evidence presented by the state-A possible sign
of systemic problems at the Houston police Department's crime laboratory
-went unchallenaged by an un-prepared defence lawyer.
After hearing the post conviction evidence,a state Judge found that it had
been the states prime witness,not Nanon Williams, who had first shot the victim.
The Judge decided Nonon Williams should receive a new trial because he been
denied his right to effective assistance of counsel.
In 2002 however:
The Texas court of Criminal Appeals rejected the Judges recommendation
with mininal explation.A Mental Health Expert has said that Nanon Williams
suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his violent upbringing.

Jury was presented with no such Expert evidence, And received a limited account
of his abusive past and it's impact on him.
At the same time, The Prosecutor made arguments for Execution that were not only
potentially inflammatory, but also flouted a central principle underlying
the International Ban on the Execution of child offenders, namely a young persons
potential for rehabiliation and change.
In view of the false evidence that was presented to Nanon Williams Jury
and the inadequacy of his defence representation, Amnesty International was calling
for Nanon Williams to be granted a new trial.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

JUVIES - What's happened to me?

JUVIES - What's happened to me?

Check out this video on YouTube:

Friday, December 2, 2011

From fiscal year 2005 to fiscal year 2010, Texas courts certified nearly 1,300 youths as adults

Texas judges, particularly in Harris County, are sending hundreds of adolescent, first-time violent offenders to state prison, a punishment lawmakers intended for youths considered the worst of the worst, according to a report set for release today.

“Adult jails and adult prisons are simply the wrong place to hold these kids,” says Michele Deitch, a professor at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs and author of the report "Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Justice System in Texas."

Texas law allows judges to certify as adults youths between the ages of 14 and 17 who have committed felony offenses. Once certified, they are housed in county jails while they await trial and, if convicted, they are sent the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

But young, violent offenders can also be given so-called determinate sentences of up to 40 years that begin in the Texas Youth Commission — and only continue on to adult prisons if the judge determines that is necessary.

From fiscal year 2005 to fiscal year 2010, Texas courts certified nearly 1,300 youths as adults. During that same time, about 860 youths received determinate sentences. According to the report, though, there was little difference in the criminality among youths sentenced to the adult system and those who were sent to youth facilities. In both cases, the majority committed a violent crime like aggravated robbery or sexual assault, and had one or no previous juvenile court cases.

The Tribune thanks our Supporting Sponsors

In most cases, the obvious difference was where the offender was tried. Harris County courts certified twice as many juvenile offenders as adults as any other county over the four-year time period studied. Judges in Harris County certified 301 youths as adults. Dallas County, by comparison, certified 141 offenders as adults during the same time period.

The problem with sending so many youths to adult facilities, particularly those who are not repeat violent offenders, is that they are not designed to rehabilitate and educate adolescents, Deitch said. Youths who are sent to adult prisons, she said, have a 100 percent greater risk of committing future violent offenses, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They are also more likely to develop mental health problems in prison, to be physically and sexually assaulted and to commit suicide.

As lawmakers consider expanding juvenile justice reforms they started in 2007, and work to keep more youths in community-based facilities and treatment programs, Deitch said they ought to also change the laws that allow youths to spend time in adult jails and prisons. Juveniles should only be eligible for sentencing to adult prison if they have first been through the juvenile system, she said. And while youths are awaiting trial, she said, they should be confined in local juvenile facilities, not county jails that are not equipped to deal with adolescents.

But Bill Connolly, a juvenile defense lawyer in Houston, said it was lawmakers' overzealous reform efforts that likely boosted the number of young offenders being sent to adult facilities. Lawmakers dropped the eligible age for Texas Youth Commission sentences from 21 to 19. When that happened, Connolly said, prosecutors were less likely to recommend that young people get sentenced to youth facilities because they wouldn't have enough time to benefit from the rehabilitation programs that TYC offers. For example, if a young person was charged with a violent offense at age 17, he could be ordered to participate in TYC's Capital and Serious Violent Offenders Program. But the wait to get into the program is at least one year, and it takes another year to complete the program."You don't have enough time to do that," Connolly said. So prosecutors and judges are more likely to send the young offender straight to the adult system if the crime is serious.

Lawmakers have already filed some bills that would address concerns about youths in adult prisons. State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said judges usually only send the worst of the worst young offenders to the adult system and that each case should be examined individually. But he submitted a measure that would allow youths who have been certified as adults to stay in juvenile facilities while they await trial. And state Reps. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, and Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, have filed measures that would limit the types of offenses that would make an offender eligible for certification as an adult.

Ana YaƱez-Correa, executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, said keeping youths in the juvenile system, where programs are designed to deal with their developing brains and characters, will produce better results and make Texans safer in the long run. “The bottom line is youths do not belong in adult settings,” she said.

Texas Tribune reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez contributed reporting for this story