Our brief highlighted developmental research that demonstrates children lack essential capacities to waive their Miranda rights and require heightened protections to determine the voluntariness of juvenile confessions. We further argued that parental involvement does not enhance the reliability of youth's waiver of their Miranda rights.
Juvenile Law Center joined the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender as co-counsel for James in his appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania challenging James's Assault by Life Prisoner sentence as unconstitutional because the underlying predicate sentence was unconstitutional.
Juvenile Law Center, the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project and DLA Piper filed a King’s Bench Petition in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of all Pennsylvania youth currently held in juvenile detention centers, county jails, or longer term correctional or residential placements during the COVID-19 crisis.
Our letter urged the court to allow the appeal because, despite a plea of guilty, children retain the right to appeal amenability proceedings for three reasons: (1) a child is not an adult criminal defendant, (2) an amenability proceeding is uniquely important and cannot be “bargained away,” and (3) a sentencing judge lacks jurisdiction to sentence a child as an adult barring a legal amenability hearing.
Amici argued that students need access to federal courts to vindicate their constitutional rights because appeals to the school board do not afford the same protections as federal litigation and federal courts must have power to review unconstitutionally vague school disciplinary provisions that violate students' rights to freedom of expression, due press, and equal protection.
Our brief argued that the U.S. Supreme Court's requirement for a meaningful opportunity for release creates an identifiable liberty interest in parole for all juvenile offenders, and the Due Process Clause requires procedural protections, including the appointment of counsel in parole hearings, when such a liberty interest is at stake.
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