We argued that Texas’s waiver of jurisdiction standard violates (1) a juvenile’s right to appellate review, (2) due process by denying certain juvenile offenders the right to an individualized determination of amenability to treatment in juvenile court, and (3) equal protection by arbitrarily depriving certain juvenile offenders of the benefits and protections of the juvenile court.
We argued that Section 2313 of the Adoption Act of Pennsylvania unambiguously requires the appointment of client-directed counsel, not a best interests guardian ad litem, to represent a child's legal interests in a contested involuntary termination of parental rights hearing.
Juvenile Law Center, in collaboration with Teamchild, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Washington in support of Joel Ramos who received an aggregate 85-year sentence for multiple offenses.
At ages 16 and 17, Treson Roberts and Zyion Houston-Sconiers stole candy and cell phones from teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween. As a result of Washington’s automatic decline statute, they were each transferred to adult court and subjected to adult mandatory minimum sentences without a hearing or individualized determination of the appropriateness of the transfer. Mr. Roberts and Mr. Houston-Sconiers were sentenced to 26 plus years and 31 years respectively. We argued that this statutory scheme violates the procedural due process protections of the U.S. Constitution.
We argued that an aggregate 90-year sentence for offenses committed by a juvenile violates Miller because it is the functional equivalent of life without parole and was imposed without consideration of the Miller factors.
We argued that the adult prosecution of a person who committed a crime as a juvenile but was apprehended after his 21st birthday is irreconcilable with Ohio’s commitment to protecting young children in the justice system.
Argued that mandatory lifetime sex offender registration applied to children is punishment in violation of the U.S. and the Illinois constitutional bans on the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment and due process.
Argued that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to give proper weight during transfer or sentencing to the age and related characteristics of a physically and sexually abused 15-year-old who participated in a murder with the adult who was abusing her.
Juvenile Law Center was co-counsel in Montgomery v. Louisiana, a case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that Miller v. Alabama (2012) applies retroactively to individuals serving mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences.
These briefs involved a thirteen-year-old student who was questioned by four adults, including a uniformed police officer, on school grounds regarding a series of break-ins. Juvenile Law Center argued that the student should have been considered in custody for Miranda purposes.
Supreme Court held the execution of juveniles unconstitutional. Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued the developmental differences between adolescents and adults in critical areas, including impulse control and understanding consequences.
One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before.