Legal Docket

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Older Youth in Foster Care
Washington Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that the court impermissibly considered B.O.J.'s gender and dependency status, in direct contradiction to Washington State statute, resulting in an inappropriate lengthy term of incarceration for very minor offenses. Our brief highlighted research demonstrating that girls, particularly girls of color and those involved in both the delinquency and dependency systems, are often punished more severely by courts, under the justification of providing treatment and protection, than their male peers for the same or more severe offenses.
Older Youth in Foster Care
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit •
Amici urged the Court to affirm the trial court ruling and uphold First Amendment protections for siblings, including cohabitating siblings in foster care.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Pennsylvania Supreme Court •
Our Petition urged the court to grant review in order to ensure that Batts II is given full effect and to determine if the right to effective assistance of counsel is denied where a viable claim of voluntary intoxication is not presented despite the presence of lay and expert witnesses available to support such a defense and where such a defense was not explained to a minor defendant.
Education
Pennsylvania Supreme Court •
We urged the court to grant review to ensure that children who experience discrimination in school can benefit from the protections of the PHRA. We argued that minority tolling is a vital protection for Pennsylvania’s children, as it is fundamentally unfair to hold children like N.B. to the same statute of limitations as adults.
Youth Tried as Adults
Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals •
We argued that the entirety of § 12-15-204, which required young people in Alabama charged with certain crimes to be prosecuted in adult court, was unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the United States Constitution.
Economic Justice
Pennsylvania Superior Court •
We argued for publication of a Pennsylvania Superior Court opinion that held that a youth sentenced to life without parole was not liable for the costs associated with his resentencing because the relevant statute in Pennsylvania, 16 P.S. § 1403, only applies to costs of trial and conviction, not sentencing.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court •
Our brief argued that the 1996 Amendment which provided for a maximum of a 5-year setback after parole application denial does not apply retroactively to juveniles or adults. Arguing that the amendment risked increasing terms of incarceration for those it is applied to retroactively, the brief suggests that it violates the state and federal constitutional ex post facto provisions.
Youth Tried as Adults
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit •
Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued that a 65-year sentence does not provide a meaningful opportunity for release based upon demonstrated rehabilitation and maturity as required by United States Supreme Court jurisprudence. We further argued that young offenders’ distinct capacity for rehabilitation forecloses de facto life sentences and that age and the possibility of fulfillment outside prison walls, not life expectancy, determine whether a sentence provides a meaningful opportunity for release.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Michigan Supreme Court •
Our brief urged the court to grant review in order to address the constitutional deficiencies in Michigan’s parole process and ensure that Michigan provides youth sentenced to parolable life a meaningful opportunity for release.
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Oregon Supreme Court •
Our brief argued that the Eighth Amendment's protections apply with equal force to children who are serving lengthy term-of-years sentences and were convicted of multiple offenses.