Legal Docket

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1 - 10 of 387 resultsReset
Keeping Kids in the Community
Pennsylvania Supreme Court •
The brief highlighted the importance of maintaining lifelong family relationships for a child’s development and wellbeing, as well as the significant harm that can result from the permanent severance of family attachments. The brief further argued that termination of parental rights is disproportionately inflicted on Black children, a disproportionality that stems from the United States’ long legacy of systematically devaluing and dismantling Black families. Finally, the brief argued that environmental factors, such as housing conditions and income, should never be the basis for termination of parental rights.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Pennsylvania Supreme Court •
Our brief highlighted research showing that the majority of Pennsylvanians serving LWOP sentences for felony murder were 25 or younger at the time of their offense, and over 42% were between the ages of 18 to 21. We argued that imposing such sentences on young adults disregards research confirming that they share many developmental traits with young people under 18. Our brief further argued that LWOP sentences for felony murder are unconstitutionally cruel under the Pennsylvania Constitution and disproportionately harm Black and Latinx young adults. Finally, our brief highlighted the stories of individuals sentenced to LWOP as young people who successfully returned to their communities post-Miller, demonstrating the importance of abolishing punishments that foreclose hope of rehabilitation.
Keeping Kids in the Community
Michigan Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that termination of parental rights inflicts significant emotional and psychological harm on children, and that kinship and guardianship placements preserve familial connections and provide a less restrictive alternative to termination. Our brief further argued that termination of parental rights must pass strict scrutiny because the deprivation of the fundamental right to family integrity is disproportionately imposed on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous children and termination without considering alternatives perpetuates the racist origins of the child welfare system.
Sex Offender Registration of Children (SORNA)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit •
Our brief argued that Alabama’s designation of many youth as “adult sex offenders” subject to the parenting restrictions is an example of the law’s overbreadth because youth mature out of delinquent behavior, are amenable to rehabilitation, and are extremely unlikely to sexually recidivate. Our brief further argued that this restriction intrudes on the constitutionally protected right to family integrity, and that prohibiting children from living with a parent can cause immense psychological harm and trauma.
Economic Justice
U.S. Supreme Court •
Our brief highlighted the impact of these ordinances on the millions of youth who are forced out of housing each year, including those who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness, such as youth with foster care experience, LGBTQIA+ youth, youth of color, and youth who have been incarcerated.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Pennsylvania Superior Court •
Along with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Juvenile Law Center acted as co-counsel for Mr. Hernandez in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, arguing that his de facto life sentence is unconstitutional under the provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution barring cruel punishments, which is broader than the Eighth Amendment.
Youth Tried as Adults
Rhode Island Supreme Court •
Our brief argues that the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama are relevant to and consistent with the adoption and interpretation of Mario’s Law, and that the State of Rhode Island seeks to preserve the power and influence it wields over youthful offenders through charge stacking, a practice that exacerbates racial inequities and is uniquely problematic when applied to youth.