Juvenile Law Center

April 19, 2017

Civil Rights Groups File Preliminary Injunction in Case Against Wisconsin State Officials to Halt Unconstitutional Use of Solitary Confinement, Other Inhumane Conditions in State-Run Youth Correctional Facilities

Today the ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center, with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady, filed a request for a preliminary injunction in federal court to halt the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and other inhumane conditions and practices for youth in state-run correctional facilities. The suit was originally filed in January on behalf of youth confined in the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls. Earlier this week, the groups filed an amended complaint with additional children incarcerated at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake as plaintiffs.

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March 29, 2017

In L.B.M. Case, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Youth in Foster Care Facing Termination of Parental Rights Have a Right to an Attorney

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday reversed and remanded the order terminating parental rights in the case of L.B.M., holding that failure to appoint client-directed counsel to represent the children’s legal interests was a structural error. Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in this case and applauds this outcome. “This case represents a key victory in the state of Pennsylvania for children’s rights,” said Lisa Swaminathan, Staff Attorney at Juvenile Law Center, who led the amicus brief effort. ACLU of Pennsylvania, Community Legal Services, National Association of Counsel for Children, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, and Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network all joined in the brief.

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January 24, 2017

Civil Rights Groups File Class Action Lawsuit Against Wisconsin State Officials for Unconstitutional Use of Solitary Confinement, Other Inhumane Conditions in State-Run Youth Correctional Facilities

The ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center, with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady, filed a class action lawsuit today in federal court against four Wisconsin state officials, including Wisconsin Secretary of Corrections Jon E. Litscher, citing the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and inhumane conditions for youth in state-run correctional facilities. The suit was filed on behalf of youth confined in the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls.

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January 12, 2017

Department of Justice Takes Action on Costs, Fines and Fees for Juvenile Offenders

Today the Department of Justice issued critical guidance on the use of costs, fines and fees for youth in the juvenile justice system. This development follows a campaign of advocacy and research on the widespread abuse of costs, fines and fees in the juvenile justice system, and Juvenile Law Center’s publication of a groundbreaking national report on the issue.

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December 20, 2016

Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and Juvenile Law Center Ask Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Clarify Re-Sentencing in Juvenile Life Without Parole Cases for Juveniles Convicted of Second Degree Murder Who Did Not Kill or Intend to Kill

Today the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and Juvenile Law Center asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction to clarify whether juveniles previously convicted of Second Degree Murder, who did not kill or intend to kill, must be sentenced significantly more leniently than juveniles who have been convicted of First Degree Murder. The state Supreme Court has yet to address the sentencing rights of this particular group of juvenile offenders in the wake of two U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Miller v Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v Louisiana (2016), which invalidated Pennsylvania’s mandatory juvenile life without parole sentencing scheme for all juveniles convicted of homicide.

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August 31, 2016

New National Report Shows Rise of Debtors’ Prison for Kids, With Implications for Racial Disparities in Juvenile Courts

Juvenile Law Center today released a groundbreaking national report, Debtors’ Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System.

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August 11, 2016

New Social Security Policy Benefits Youth Leaving Foster Care

A new policy from the Social Security Administration (SSA) went into effect on August 1st to allow foster youth of all ages with disabilities to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits six months before they leave care. This policy will remain in effect for one year, after which SSA will evaluate its success and make any necessary modifications.

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May 26, 2016

Oregon Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court’s Decision to Charge 13-Year-Old as Adult

In an important win for children who may face transfer to adult court, the Oregon State Supreme Court today interpreted the state’s transfer statute to require juvenile courts to consider juveniles’ unique emotional and intellectual capacities before they may be transferred to adult court. In doing so, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case of State v. J.C.N.-V. back to the juvenile court for consideration under the proper interpretation of the standard.

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January 25, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court: Prior Finding That Mandatory Life without Parole Sentences for Youth Are Unconstitutional Now Found Retroactive

In a key win for individuals nationwide who are serving life without parole sentences for crimes committed as children, the United States Supreme Court today ruled 6-3 in Montgomery v. Louisiana that their 2012 decision inMiller v. Alabama, barring mandatory life without parole sentences for youth, applies retroactively. Today’s decision guarantees that 69-year-old Henry Montgomery, along with as many as 2,000 others serving similar mandatory life without parole sentences, will receive new sentencing hearings or be considered for parole.

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December 18, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Two Bills into Law to Give Foster Youth More “Normal” Lives

Governor Wolf is expected to soon sign a second bill into law to help vulnerable foster youth better succeed. Act 75 of 2015 was signed into law on December 10th and HB 1603 will be signed within days. Both bills are in response to the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, which mandates states to implement policies that protect youth from harm and improve their ability to develop skills, talents and connections with family and community.

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