Legal Docket

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Juvenile Sex Offender Registry (SORNA)
Washington Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that Houston-Sconiers, which held that sentencing court’s have authority to depart below the standard sentencing range when sentencing youthful offenders, established a substantive change in the law requiring retroactive application and further that a national consensus has emerged against applying mandatory sentencing schemes to youth. We further argued that the continued imposition of mandatory adult sentences on youth relies on an unconstitutional non-rebuttable presumption that a youth is as morally culpable as an adult.
Older Youth in Foster Care
Pennsylvania Supreme Court •
We argued that the proposed judicial expansion of the Child Protective Services Law to permit unreasonable searches of parents through compulsory urine drug screens during civil child welfare investigations violates both the Fourth Amendment and the Pennsylvania Constitution. We further argued that such an expansion would have a disparate impact on poorer people and people of color.
Youth Interrogations
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court •
We argued that courts must consider the unique intersectionality of youth and race when applying the Fourth Amendment reasonable person analysis for seizures.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Montana Supreme Court •
Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in support of Steven Keefe, who was sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed when he was under the age of 18.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Ohio Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that the imposition of any life imprisonment sentence upon a juvenile offender, including a life tail, imposed without considering youth and its attendant characteristics, is unconstitutional under the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions.
Access to Counsel
Washington Supreme Court •
Amici argued that the state should be held liable when youth are deprived of the right to effective assistance of counsel, even when the state has delegated the responsibility of providing  counsel to the county because the right to counsel is fundamental and essential to a fair trial.
Juvenile Sex Offender Registry (SORNA)
United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama •
Attorneys from Juvenile Law Center and SPLC filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act, which imposes a lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender for children tried and convicted as adults for sex offenses.
Youth Interrogations
Ohio Supreme Court •
Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that M.H.’s statements to a government social worker may have been involuntary and violated due process even if the government social worker was not required to give Miranda warnings because youth are more susceptible to coercion, conditioned to comply with adults’ requests, cognitively disadvantaged when navigating the juvenile justice system, and misunderstand their rights even when actively informed of their rights.
Solitary Confinement & Harsh Conditions
United States District Court, Central District of California •
Amici argued that regulations released in August 2019 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are inconsistent with the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), violated state licensing requirements required by the FSA, and put children at risk of serious harm or even death.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Idaho Supreme Court •
Juvenile Law Center argued that the reasoning relied on by the United States Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons (prohibiting capital punishment for youth who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed) applies with equal force to young adults, such as James Hairston, and that legislative changes reflect an emerging national consensus that individuals under age 21 are less culpable for their criminal conduct than fully-developed adults.