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Friday, December 8, 2017

Juvenile Cases

Case Name: People v. Vela , District: 4 DCA , Division: 3 , Case #: G052282
Opinion Date: 4/24/2017 , DAR #: 3958
Case Holding:
Juvenile offender who was charged by direct filing and tried as an adult is retroactively entitled to a transfer hearing under Proposition 57 because his case was pending on direct appeal, and not final, when Proposition 57 was enacted. Vela was sentenced to 72 years to life for murder and related gang charges for an offense committed when he was 16 years old. He was charged by direct filing and tried in adult court. While his appeal was pending, voters passed Proposition 57, which eliminated prosecutors' ability to directly file charges against juveniles in adult court. Instead, a juvenile's case may be transferred to adult court only after a transfer (fitness) hearing before a juvenile court judge. In a petition for rehearing in the Court of Appeal, Vela argued he was entitled to Proposition 57 relief under In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740. Held: Conditionally reversed. While laws generally operate prospectively only, Estrada provides that a law passed that lessens punishment should apply to cases pending on appeal, as the amendment represents an express determination that the former penalty was too severe. When a change in the law allows a court to exercise its sentencing discretion more favorably for a particular defendant, the reasoning of Estrada applies. Here, for a minor accused of a crime, it is a potential "ameliorating benefit" to have a neutral judge, rather than a prosecutor, determine that he or she is unfit for rehabilitation within the juvenile justice system. It is also a benefit for a minor to remain in the juvenile court, where the primary emphasis is on rehabilitation. In approving Proposition 57, which was intended to broaden the number of minors who could potentially stay within the juvenile justice system, the electorate determined that the former system of direct filing was too severe. Thus, it is an inevitable inference that the electorate intended the potential ameliorating benefits of Proposition 57 to apply to every case in which it constitutionally could apply. The court disagreed with People v. Cervantes (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 569.

The appropriate remedy is conditional reversal dependent on the outcome of a juvenile transfer hearing. While Vela argued his convictions should be reversed, the Attorney General argued that the failure to provide Vela with a transfer hearing was harmless error. The court disagreed with both parties, concluding that the appropriate remedy is conditional reversal dependent on the outcome of a juvenile transfer hearing. The court directed the juvenile court to conduct a transfer hearing and, to the extent possible, treat the matter as though the prosecutor had originally filed a juvenile petition in juvenile court and had then moved to transfer the case to adult criminal court. If, after the hearing, the juvenile court determines that it would not have transferred the case, the juvenile court is to treat Vela's convictions as juvenile adjudications and impose an appropriate "disposition" within its discretion. Alternatively, if the juvenile court determines that it would have transferred the case to adult criminal court, the judgment will be reinstated, and the criminal court shall conduct a Franklin hearing. (See People v. Franklin (2016) 63 Cal.4th 261 [directing trial court to determine whether defendant had an opportunity to make a complete record of information that would be relevant at a youth offender parole hearing and, if not, permitting the parties to put relevant evidence on the record].)

The full opinion is available on the court's website here:
Case Name: In re B.M. , District: 2 DCA , Division: 6 , Case #: B277076
Opinion Date: 4/20/2017 , DAR #: 3827
Case Holding:
Juvenile court's factual finding that a common butter knife was a deadly weapon was not wholly irreconcilable with the evidence. Appellant, a minor, attacked her sister with a metal butter knife while her sister was lying on her back in bed. The sister covered herself with a blanket for protection. Although she felt pressure from the knife through the blanket, she was not injured. The juvenile court sustained a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition alleging appellant committed felony assault with a deadly weapon (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(1)). On appeal, appellant argued there was insufficient evidence that the knife she used was a deadly weapon. Held: Affirmed. "As used in section 245, subdivision (a)(1), a deadly weapon is any object, instrument, or weapon which is used in such a manner as to be capable of producing and likely to produce, death or great bodily injury." (People v. Aguilar (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1023, 1028-1029 [internal quotations omitted].) Here, the juvenile court, sitting as the trier of fact, made a factual finding "that the six-inch metal butter knife could be used to slice or stab, even though it was not designed for such." Based on the facts of the case, the juvenile court's finding was not wholly irreconcilable with the evidence. When an object "is capable of being used in a 'dangerous or deadly' manner, and it may be fairly inferred from the evidence that its possessor intended on a particular occasion to use it as a weapon should the circumstances require, . . . its character as a 'dangerous or deadly weapon' may be thus established, at least for the purposes of that occasion." (People v. McCoy (1944) 25 Cal.2d 177, 189.) It does not matter that the victim was able to fend off great bodily injury with her blanket or that appellant was not skilled at using the knife. The court disagreed with In re Brandon T. (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 1491.

The trial court properly denied appellant's motion to exclude her statements to a police officer after the attack, because appellant was not in custody during the interview. Appellant's sister called 911 after the attack and an officer drove to her residence. The officer saw appellant outside and asked her if her name was B.M., and appellant said yes. The officer asked appellant to walk towards him and sit against the bumper of his marked patrol vehicle so he could talk to her about what happened, and they talked about the altercation. On appeal, appellant argued her constitutional rights were violated because the officer did not inform her of her Miranda rights before detaining and questioning her. The Court of Appeal disagreed. Miranda advisements are required only when a person is subjected to custodial interrogation. The test for Miranda custody is, would a reasonable person have felt he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave. Based on the totality of the circumstances, appellant was not subjected to custodial interrogation. She was not placed under arrest or in handcuffs, and there was only one officer present. The detention was not prolonged and occurred in a noncoercive atmosphere. The officer was not confrontational and did not use interrogation techniques to pressure appellant. Under these circumstances, a reasonable person in appellant's situation would have believed she was free to leave at any time and terminate the interview.

The full opinion is available on the court's website here:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Rikers Juvenile Beaten

New York: Correction Captain Charged With Beating Teenage Rikers Inmate

A New York City Correction Department captain was arrested on Thursday and charged with beating an inmate at Rikers Island so badly that several of the prisoner's teeth were broken, and prosecutors say four other guards helped cover up the attack.

The captain, Sandy Arkhurst, 42, pleaded not guilty before Justice Robert Neary in State Supreme Court in the Bronx and was later released on $10,000 bail. The four other officers charged - John Penafiel, 29; Christopher Squillaro, 31; Orlando Rivera, 58; and Michael Nicholson, 42 - were also released on $5,000 bail after denying the charges.

A federal monitor overseeing reforms at Rikers Island found in a report this spring that guards continued to use brutal force against inmates at an alarming rate and often lied to cover up those incidents. Those findings came despite efforts to clean up the troubled jail complex after the city reached a sweeping settlement agreement in 2015 in response to a lawsuit. Mayor Bill de Blasio has backed a plan to replace the sprawling complex with smaller jails.

All five guards were members of a special unit that was called to the Eric M. Taylor Center, one of the island's jails, on June 3, 2016, to deal with an 18-year-old inmate, Rodolfo Rodriguez, who was refusing to go into his cell, prosecutors said.

Read More

Friday, November 10, 2017

: 13-year-old raped by inmate at Angola Rodeo

Louisiana: 13-year-old raped by inmate at Angola Rodeo

The Louisiana State Penitentiary says it is investigating an "incident" after a report citing anonymous sources claimed a teen was raped at the Angola Rodeo.

WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge reports that multiple sources agreed to discuss the "situation" after agreeing to not be identified. The station says numerous attempts to get information from officials were stymied until the report aired 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The report says a spokesperson for the state prison released a brief statement late Tuesday.

"There is an ongoing investigation into the alleged incident which may have occurred during the last weekend of the October 2017 rodeo," state prison spokesperson Ken Pastorick told WBRZ. "The details about the alleged incident will not be released or discussed until the appropriate time."

Read More

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)


Today at 8:55 AM

Message body

For more than four decades the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has had a profound impact on how our youth justice systems operate. In fact, it has so deeply changed how states organize their justice systems that many reformers, unfortunately, take it for granted.

Without the JJDPA, reformers would lack consistent data, a go-to federal agency, funds for community-based options and system changes, and state-level oversight bodies to monitor basic care for youth in the system.

This snapshot highlights the basics of what this law does and why it continues to be a critically important tool for helping young people and communities.

At the time that the JJDPA was enacted, egregious practices were commonplace in many states, such as regularly placing children in the juvenile justice system into adult jails. Thus, the JJDPA was enacted to provide federal guidance and standards to ensure a minimum level of safety and equitable treatment for youth in every state, U.S. territory, the District of Columbia, and tribes. Here are some of the key ways that the JJDPA does this:

Protects Youth
The JJDPA established four core protections for youth:
• The deinstitutionalization of youth with status offenses (DSO) core protection provides that youth charged with offenses such as truancy and running away should not be confined in juvenile facilities or adult jails;

Establishes State Oversight
Title II State Formula Grants5
Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Program

The JJDPA was last reauthorized by Congress in 2002. That means it does not reflect many of the important new developments in the field, including new adolescent brain science research; the cost-effectiveness and improved outcomes from trauma-informed, community-based approaches; and what we know works to address the needs of youth of color and girls. Efforts are underway to update and reauthorize the JJDPA to reflect these new developments and incentivize states to enact bold, evidence-based reform efforts that have proven to be more effective.

National Juvenile Justice Network | 2
1424 K St. NW, Suite 403 Washington, DC 20005 • •
• The jail removal core protection provides that youth should not be placed in adult jails and lock-ups except under very limited circumstances;
• The “sight and sound” separation core protection provides that youth in adult jails or lock-ups must be sight and sound separated from adult inmates; and
• The disproportionate minority contact core protection mandates that states take measures to reduce racial and ethnic disparities at key contact points in the juvenile justice system.
Created a Federal Agency
The JJDPA established the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) – an agency that provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to states to help them comply with the core protections and other requirements of the JJDPA, as well as to develop effective youth justice programs to support youth and build healthy, safe communities. These resources include:
• provision of funding to the states through formula and discretionary grants;
• technical assistance and training to states;
• research, reports and trainings on youth justice issues and reforms; and
• the collection and analysis of statistics on youth involved with youth justice systems throughout the country.
Collects Detailed Data
OJJDP collects, and makes public, data on youth in every stage of the youth justice system throughout the country. OJJDP provides statistical analyses of this data as well as a Statistical Briefing Book, which allows all users to sort the data by a variety of categories on the national and state level.
Establishes State Oversight
The JJDPA requires that governors create a State Advisory Group to provide advice on youth justice policy, monitor and support the state’s progress in addressing the JJDPA core requirements, provide input into the distribution of the state’s JJDPA funding, and develop a three-year, youth justice plan for the state.
Funds Programs
The JJDPA emphasizes that states provide funding for community-based alternatives.1 JJDPA funds have been used by states to fund a variety of community-based programs, such as afterschool and summer delinquency prevention programs

Created a Federal Agency
The JJDPA established the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) – an agency that provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to states to help them comply with the core protections and other requirements of the JJDPA, as well as to develop effective youth justice programs to support youth and build healthy, safe communities. These resources include:
• provision of funding to the states through formula and discretionary grants;
• technical assistance and training to states;
• research, reports and trainings on youth justice issues and reforms; and
• the collection and analysis of statistics on youth involved with youth justice systems throughout the country.

Read More:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

When A Child Is With Miore

California's Youth Needs You

Prop 57 EmergencyRegulationsare here.
This week CDCR released proposed regulations for Proposition 57. Learn about them and voice your opinion about what is good and what should be changed! We have until Monday, April 3rd to submit a letter in this first round of public comments.These are "emergency regulations,"
which means they will go into effect quickly and will be in use while the permanent regulations go through the formal vetting process. We get the first chance to voice our opinions on these regulations right now, with a deadline of Monday, April 3rd. Later, when the permanent
regulations are being considered, we'll get another chance to send in letters and go to public hearings. Watch this short slideshow on what the regulations are and how you can be involved!

Learn about what is in the emergency regulations and how you can participate in the public comment period. Read about the process here and read the actual Prop 57 Regs here. Finally, you can use this Prop 57 Regulations Sample Letter with Instructions 3-24-17 to weigh in!The
emergency regulations can stay in effect for 180 days. We can expect that prior to the end of that period the permanent regulation rule-making process will occur, and during that time there will be a minimum 45-day period for written public comments. There will also be public hearings. As
people who care about this issue, we should weigh in at every chance. Stay tuned to learn about other deadlines, public hearings, and more.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ACTION!! Letter-writing workshop at USC School of Law last week. Taught by law students and formerly incrcerated people, we split up into small groups and drafted letters on the Prop 57 regulations together.

GET THE GUIDE.Youth OffenderParole Guideon SB 260 and SB 261 For families and people on the inside. Click here to get yours. go through the formal vetting process, including More »

TAKE ACTION NOW: Speak Up on Prop 57 Regs! And, Support Two Bills on the Rights of

Children and Youth!

There are three important ways to take action right now: 1. Support SB 394, ending life without parole for youth under age 18; 2. Support SB 395, protecting Miranda rights for youth; and 3.

Give your opinion on Prop More »

Go Here To View Sample Letter>

Read this one-page descriptoin SB 395 here! SB 395- Miranda Factsheet. Read the bill text here.

Then, take action!! Send a letter! Here are to easy-to-use options:

Sample letter with instructions OR

Several short letters– pick one to just print, sign, and send!

Under current law, police are allowed to:
•Remove a child from school without a parent’s permission
•Interrogate a child for hours without a parent’s knowledge
•Lie to the child about what evidence exists against him or her
•Threaten long prison sentences
•Not contact a parent during interrogation, even when a child is asking to speak with their mother or father.

The end result is that children and youth are alone in a very high-pressure situation, and are often frightened.

SB 395 is a bill that if passed would have made sure a person under the age of 18 gets to talk to an attorney before giving up his or her constitutional rights.

Want to know more?
•More facts
•Why American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychologists believes attorneys should be present with children who are with police
•How the rate of false confessions is high for youth
•How much false confessions cost California

Fact Sheet >


Miranda Rights for Youth
Senate Bill 395
SB 395 will require youth under the age of 18 to
consult with legal counsel before they waive their
constitutional rights.

Currently in California, children—no matter howyoung— can waive their Miranda rights. When

lawenforcement conducts a custodial interrogation, they are required to recite basic constitutional rights to theindividual, known as Miranda rights, and secure awaiver of those rights before
proceeding. The waivermust be voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently made.
Miranda waivers by juveniles present distinct issues.
Recent advances in cognitive science research haveshown that the capacity of youth to grasp legal rights is less than that of an adult. This is especially true for very young, developmentally disabled, or cognitivelydelayed children, and for those with mental health
Although existing law assures counsel for youth accused of crimes, the law does not require law enforcement to recognize that youth are different from adults. It is critical to ensure a youth understands their rights before waiving them.
Recently an appellate court held that a 10-year-old boy made a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights. When the police asked if he understood the right to remain silent, he replied, “Yes, that means that I have the right to stay calm.” The California Supreme Court declined to review the lower court’s decision. Several justices disagreed, and in his dissenting statement Justice Liu noted that many states have taken legislative action on this issue and
suggests that California should as well, stating that state law on juvenile waivers is a half-century old and,“predates by several decades the growing body ofscientific research that the [U.S. Supreme Court] has repeatedly found relevant in assessing differences in mental capabilities between children and adults.”
Studies have demonstrated youth often do not fully comprehend the consequences of waiving their rights.
They are also much more likely than adults to waive their rights and to confess to crimes they did not commit. A recent study of exonerations found that 13 percent of adults had falsely confessed, compared to 42 percent of juveniles. The ramifications for both the
individual and society of false confessions are farreaching.
Our society recognizes that children are especially vulnerable in legal situations, which is why youth cannot buy alcohol and cigarettes or enter into legal contracts, yet our state’s laws do not recognize their diminished capacity to understand their Miranda rights. Other states have acknowledged the difference between youth and adults and passed laws providing safeguards for youth. Unfortunately, for juveniles in California, our justice system
only provides Miranda rights in theory. In practice the system is flawed and can and does result in serious disproportionate negative consequences for youth who have the same rights as adults, but do not have the same capacity to understand their rights or the consequences of waiving them.
SB 395 will require youth under 18 to consult with counsel prior to waving their rights. This will preserv youth’s constitutional rights and protect the integrity of our criminal justice system. This bill will bring California’s law in line with modern science. By
ensuring youth understand their rights, we ensure the outcome of interrogations are just and
lawful, and create greater trust, accountability, and due process for all.
Megan Baier 916-651-4033

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

11 Years Old & Sentenced To 25

Lacresha Murray – Another Child Locked Away
Posted on January 6, 2004 by CCWP

by Diana Block
Lacresha Murray is a Black thirteen-year-old child who was convicted of negligent homicide and injury to a child. She was eleven years old when she was sentenced to 25 years! There was no physical evidence, no reasonable explanation of opportunity or motive, no witnesses and no history of violence, yet this young girl is now spending her days in a juvenile prison in Giddings, Texas.
The case is based on a so-called confession from Lacresha, which was obtained by Austin, Texas, police during a lengthy, illicit interrogation. Months before her
trial, against juvenile law and State Bar rules, Austin D.A. Ronnie Earle announced Lacresha’s identity and pronounced her guilty in a televised news conference. The media, without any investigation, headlined her as guilty as charged for two solid months, eliminating any possibility of a fair trial. By framing and imprisoning Lacresha, Earle got national attention and right-before-election proof that he was tough on crime.
Lacresha’s case highlights the growing trend of the criminal injustice system to lock children up at ever younger ages for increasing amounts of time. This trend impacts most heavily on communities of color, which are being ripped apart by this devastating combination of police, court and prison attacks. For more information about Lacresha’s case, contact People of the Heart, P.O. Box 2585, Cedar Park, TX 78630-2585, 512-707-3743, Send donations to People of the Heart, Acct. 1888322466, Bank One Texas, Bank by Mail, Station H, 1901 Parkwood, Bedford, TX 76021.
This entry was posted in Issue 09 - September 1998 by CCWP. Bookmark the permalink.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Aanother Child Dies

Washington: Teen’s Death in Tribal Jail Sparks Lawsuit, Contract Scrutiny
Loaded on Feb. 8, 2017 published in Prison Legal News February, 2017, page 39 Filed under: Guard Misconduct, Jail Misconduct, Cardiovascular,

Failure to Treat, Jail Specific, Medical Neglect/Malpractice, Juveniles, Failure to Protect (Juveniles), Guards/Staff. Location:

On January 9, 2017, Seattle attorneys Edwin Budge and Erik

Heipt said they plan to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of the family of a teenager who died after warning jailers he had a heart condition and had previously required resuscitation. Although 19 year-old Andrew Westling wasn’t a tribal member, when he was
arrested on April 10, 2016, police in the city of Yelm took him to the Nisqually Corrections Center – a tribal jail in nearby
Thurston County. There, after telling a guard he felt like his heart was “thumping out of his skin,” he was found dead roughly 24 hours after being booked into the facility.

A Thurston County coroner listed the cause of Westling’s death as
cardiac dysrhythmia due to congenital coronary artery heart
anomalies,” and described the manner of death as natural.

However, according to a medical specialist retained by attorneys
representing Westling’s family, his heart condition was “familiar,
readily recognized, and easily treatable.” University of
Washington medical professor Richard Cummins added, “If it
were not for the unreasonable neglect of the staff of the Nisqually
Corrections Center, Andrew Westling would be alive today and
would very likely enjoy a normal life span.”

The ...


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Debtors’ Prison For Kids
Debtors’ Prison For Kids: Poor Children Incarcerated When Families Can’t Pay Juvenile Court Fees

First-of-its-kind report finds children are being imprisoned nationwide when families can’t pay fines levied by juvenile justice system.
“The debt in effect creates a rift between parents and their children,” one survey respondent said, and went on to describe a grandmother who was told to consider giving up custody of her grandson in order to avoid paying his juvenile court fees. Many states are incarcerating poor children whose families can’t afford to pay juvenile court fees and fines, a report published Wednesday finds, which amounts to punishing children for their families’ poverty—and that may be unconstitutional.
Although the growing practice of incarcerating adults who are unable to pay municipal and court fees and fines has been documented for several years, as Common Dreams has noted, the latest report from the Juvenile Law Center is the first in-depth examination of the practice within the juvenile justice system.
The report, “Debtor’s Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System” (pdf), documents the results of a survey of 183 people involved in the juvenile justice system—including lawyers, family members, and adults who had been incarcerated as children in the juvenile justice system—in 41 states.
The report authors discovered that in most states there is a pile-up of fees and fines imposed on children and their families once a child enters the juvenile justice system, and that “many statutes establish that youth can be incarcerated or otherwise face a loss of liberty when they fail to pay.”
A grandmother had taken custody of her grandson but when facing these insurmountable fees, she was told (by a county employee) that the only way she could avoid paying was to hand over custody [to the state].”—Juvenile Law Center survey respondent

There are myriad ways in which juvenile court systems levy fines on children’s families, the report authors found, and then imprison those children when their families are too poor to pay the mounting costs:
Many states impose a monthly fee on families whose children are sentenced to probation. When a family can’t pay the monthly fee, that counts as a probation violation, and the child is in most cases incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility.
If children are sentenced to a “diversion program,” or a community-based program meant to keep them out of detention and help them reintegrate into their communities, the families must pay the costs of such a program. When poor children are unable to pay, they are simply incarcerated instead.
Families in most states must pay for their children’s court-ordered evaluations and tests (such as mental health evaluations, STD tests, and drug and alcohol assessments). Failure to obtain certain evaluations may result in a failure to be granted bond by the court, which means the child would remain in juvenile detention. Or if the tests are performed and the family subsequently can’t pay for them, that counts as a probation violation and the child is re-sentenced, which can mean being incarcerated.
Some sentences involve a simple fine, such as truancy, and failure to pay results in the child’s imprisonment. “Even when fines are not mandated by statute, they may be treated as mandatory in practice,” the report authors note, describing one impoverished child’s experience with a $500 truancy fine in Arkansas: One individual who had been in the juvenile justice system there reported that he spent three months in a locked facility at age 13 because he couldn’t afford the truancy fine. He appeared in court without a lawyer or a parent and was never asked about his capacity to pay or given the option of paying a reduced amount. He assumed he had to either pay the full fine or spend time in jail. He explained, “my mind was set to where I was just like forget it, I might as well just go ahead and do the time because I ain’t got no money and I know the [financial] situation my mom is in. I ain’t got no money so I might as well just go and sit it out.”
“Almost all states charge parents for the care and support of youth involved with the juvenile justice system,” the report adds. Those include fees for room and board, clothing, and mental and physical healthcare, among many other charges, and “[i]nability to pay […] can result in youth being deprived of treatment, held in violation of probation, or even facing extended periods of incarceration.” (Juvenile prisons also charge their own, often higher, prices for children’s prescription medications, the report says, which frequently results in high charges that poor families cannot afford to pay and interrupts necessary healthcare for their children.)
In all 50 states, a statute exists which deems that if a child and their family can’t afford restitution charges—that is, payment to the victim(s) of the child’s crime, which is a popular sentence in juvenile court—the child is incarcerated.
Juvenile detention facilities are often unsafe and inhumane, as Common Dreams has reported.

And the fines imposed by juvenile court are “highly burdensome,” according to the report.
The average cost of juvenile system involvement is $2,000 per case in Alameda County, California,
for example, and “for young people incarcerated for extended periods of time, the costs can be
significantly higher.”

“When parents face incarceration or mounting debt for failure to pay, they have even fewer resources to devote to educating, helping, and supporting their children.”
—Juvenile Law Center
The report authors also observe that incarcerating children for their families’ inability to pay fees may be unconstitutional:



“Moreover,” the report continues, “while further research is needed, existing studies suggest that court costs, fees, and fines have limited, if any, fiscal benefit to states and counties, given the difficulty in collecting from families in poverty and the high administrative costs in trying to do so.”
The Juvenile Law Center details the varying policies on juvenile court system fees state-by-state on a new website, and also highlights the few counties and states who are attempting to rectify the problem.
“Ultimately, state and local policymakers should establish more sustainable and effective models for funding court systems rather than imposing costs on youth and families who simply can’t afford to pay,” the Juvenile Law Center says.

180 Days For Stolen Cellphone

Abuse, Civil Rights, Criminal Justice System, Human Rights, Justice, Juveniles, law, Life In America, Mass Incarceration
A stolen cellphone, then an odyssey through Maryland’s juvenile justice system

Continue reading A stolen cellphone, then an odyssey through Maryland’s juvenile justice system
13 year old’s 1st offense was stealing a cellphone. Did he have to spend 891 days in juvenile system?
By Erica L. Green

Before Michael ever saw the inside of juvenile lockup, caseworkers recommended he be sent home.
The 13-year-old came from a stable, two-parent home in Columbia. He watched over his three younger siblings, did chores around the house, and enjoyed playing in his youth football league.
Then, he says, he fell in with the wrong group of kids. He was with one of the boys, he says, when they stole another teen’s cellphone.
It was Michael’s first offense. Juvenile caseworkers thought a letter of apology and counseling made the most sense. His attorney argued that a return home would be the best outcome for everyone.