We argued that certification hearings require heightened due process procedures to protect youth from the harms of the adult system and that virtual hearings violate the constitutional protections that must accompany these proceedings. We further argued that failure to provide robust constitutional protections results in racially disproportionate certification, which is exacerbated by virtual hearings.
The brief argued that adopting the defendant’s interpretation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2), governing class certification, “would endanger class actions as a critical tool for securing civil rights generally and for students with disabilities in particular.” The brief further emphasized that the express purpose of Rule 23(b)(2) is to strengthen class actions as a weapon against discrimination, that such class actions are crucial to the pursuit of educational rights, and that the rule has been used to remedy a wide variety of civil rights violations.
Our brief argued that neuroscientific and developmental research mandates a categorical bar on life without parole sentences for youth, and that, at a minimum, Michigan should establish procedural protections to ensure youth rarely receive life without parole sentences.
The brief argued that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana correctly applied Younger v. Harris in permitting this litigation to proceed. The brief further argued that the overbroad application of Younger supported by the defendants would obstruct federal courts’ historical function as protectors of constitutional and civil rights and would disproportionately affect Black and Brown children, LGBTQ+ youth, and children with disabilities.
Our brief argued that mandatory youth sex offender registration is punitive. Our brief emphasized that sexual recidivism rates for youth are low, that youth sex offender registration and notification laws fail to improve or enhance public safety in any way, and that such laws are associated with severe harm to youth on the registry. We further argued that youth registration requirements disproportionately impact Black youth and individuals experiencing homelessness.
Our brief argued that the mandatory imposition of life without parole on an 18-year-old violates the federal and Michigan constitutions for the same reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court barred such sentences for youth under 18 in Miller v. Alabama.
Our brief argued that racial bias infects Washington’s criminal legal system and compounds the risk that an unjust life sentence will be imposed, and that Mr. Anderson’s sentence does not serve the penological goals of retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, or rehabilitation. We further emphasized that sentencing youth to life in prison ignores their capacities to make meaningful contributions to their communities in the future.
The brief argued that Ohio’s policy undermines Congress’s intent to keep children with their families and disregards the advantages of kinship care. The brief further argued that Ohio’s policy disproportionately harms Black and Brown children, as they are overrepresented in the kinship foster care system, and makes already-poor families poorer, as kinship caregivers are typically poorer than licensed non-relative foster parents.
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