Legal Docket

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Youth Interrogations
Supreme Court of California •
We urged the court to grant review, arguing that Steve’s youth, learning disabilities, and intoxication at the time of the interrogation made it impossible for him to have the capacity to waive his rights.
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania •
Amici argued that educational institutions’ failure to address and remedy harassment leads to adverse outcomes for survivors and in particular for girls, students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, and students who embody multiple marginalized identities. Amici urged the Court to affirm the trial court’s conclusion that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) recognizes claims of discrimination against educational institutions that fail to address and remedy student-on-student harassment.
Youth Interrogations
Wisconsin Courts of Appeal •
Amici argued that courts must consider adolescent development when evaluating the validity of a Miranda waiver and the voluntariness of a confession and that youth cannot validly waive Miranda rights absent a meaningful opportunity to consult with counsel.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania •

Juvenile Law Center, in collaboration with Defender Association of Philadelphia, Cozen O’Connor, Peter Goldberger, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, filed a brief in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on behalf of Mr. Ligon and other named defendants in support of the questions of law raised in General Court Regulation #1 of 2016 to be resolved by an en banc panel prior to re-sentencing the juvenile life without parole population. Since Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia in particular has the largest juvenile lifer population in the country, the court’s decision is likely to have a significant impact on many juvenile lifer re-sentencings.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Washington Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that courts must consider emerging research on youth brain development during sentencing, and Washington’s “Three Strikes” law should incorporate the Eighth Amendment’s requirement for individualized sentencing because the characteristics of youth relied upon in Roper and its progeny are still developing in older adolescents and young adults.
United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania •
Juvenile Law Center, Education Law Center, and attorneys from Dechert, LLC, filed a class action lawsuit against Glen Mills Schools and Pennsylvania state officials on behalf of hundreds of youth who suffered at the hands of Glen Mills leadership and staff.
Juvenile Sex Offender Registry (SORNA)
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania •
Juvenile Law Center and Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society, along with pro bono counsel Ballard Spahr LLP, filed an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in support of J.M.G. Our brief argued that effective psychiatric treatment requires absolute confidentiality and disclosing privileged communications between a psychiatrist and patient is never harmless error.
Pennsylvania Superior Court •
Our brief argued that J.L.’s removal violated Pennsylvania statute which requires that removal of a child only be used as a last resort and when clearly necessary to protect the child or the community. Our brief further outlined the ineffectiveness and long-lasting harms of residential placements on children. Finally, we highlighted research demonstrating that community-based services are effective in addressing truancy while preventing the harms of removal and placement.
Youth Tried as Adults
Supreme Court of Texas •
Our brief urged the court to grant review and argued that “sophistication and maturity” is a term of art that requires interpretation according to the vast adolescent development science and research.