Argued that due process is violated when a judge uses his independent knowledge about a youth’s child welfare history and involvement, including past misconduct, as evidence to adjudicate the youth delinquent in the juvenile justice system.
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.
Challenged the court’s finding that an autistic juvenile was competent to stand trial and that there was sufficient grounds to adjudicate the juvenile delinquent based on resisting arrest and related charges.
Supporting a juvenile defendant in Illinois who challenged the representation he received in court, when his defense lawyer sacrificed his defense believing that it was in the child’s "best interests."
Child Welfare and Foster Care, Juvenile and Criminal Justice
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.