Legal Docket

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Solitary Confinement & Harsh Conditions
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit •
Challenged the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s Act 53, which assists parents in obtaining treatment for minors afflicted with a drug or alcohol dependency by allowing for involuntary commitment.
Youth Tried as Adults
U.S. Supreme Court •

This appeal raised a question of first impression: Is a juvenile entitled to request a jury trial in juvenile court when 1) the protective features of the juvenile court have been largely eliminated by statutory amendments, and, 2) a delinquency adjudication would lead to automatic adult status upon a next arrest? The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the denial of the right to a jury trial.

Access to Counsel
United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania •
Challenged the lack of due process procedures when a county revoked a juvenile’s probation.
Education
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit •
School-aged youth awaiting trial in either juvenile or adult facilities remain entitled to basic education under PA law.
Older Youth in Foster Care
Pennsylvania Superior Court •
Argued for a half-brother’s standing to participate in child welfare proceedings involving his sibling and that the child advocate’s representation of both children constituted a conflict of interest.
Older Youth in Foster Care
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit •
Supported class certification in a lawsuit brought on behalf of children in Philadelphia’s foster care system.
Older Youth in Foster Care
U.S. Supreme Court •
Surveyed statutes and social science literature in a lawsuit involving the interpretation of the “reasonable efforts” to preserve and reunite families provision of the Adoption and Assistance Child Welfare Act.
Education
United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania •
Challenged abusive conditions at state-run youth center.