Legal Docket

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Solitary Confinement & Harsh Conditions
United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin •

Juvenile Law Center, with co-counsel ACLU of Wisconsin and Quarles & Brady, LLP, filed a federal civil rights class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against Wisconsin juvenile corrections officials and administrators of two correctional facilitates, the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, 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)
New Mexico Supreme Court •

We argued that a 91½-year sentence, requiring at least 45 years served prior to becoming parole eligible, for nonhomicide offenses committed by a juvenile is unconstitutional under Graham because it fails to provide a “meaningful opportunity” for release.

Juvenile Sex Offender Registry (SORNA)
Ohio Supreme Court •

Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Ohio on behalf of 12-year-old D.S. Juvenile Law Center argued that Ohio's gross sexual imposition statute – designed in part to protect children who are under age 13 from adult sexual predators – is unconstitutional when applied to children, particularly children who allegedly engage in sexual contact with a peer of similar age.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Pennsylvania Superior Court •

Along with Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and Wendy L. Williams & Associates, Juvenile Law Center filed an Application for Exercise of Extraordinary Jurisdiction or King's Bench Power on behalf of over 100 juveniles sentenced to JLWOP and then resentenced to 20-to-life terms.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
U.S. Supreme Court •

Juvenile Law Center and Center for Law, Brain and Behavior filed an amicus brief supporting Ahmad Bright’s petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. We argued that the opportunity for parole is not an adequate substitute for an individualized sentencing hearing as required by Miller and Montgomery. Furthermore, youth who are accomplices are essentially nonhomicide offenders and, under Graham v. Florida (2010), cannot be sentenced to life without parole sentences.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
U.S. Supreme Court •

Amici argued that a life without parole sentence for a juvenile convicted of first degree murder under a theory of accessorial liability is unconstitutional under Graham because such a conviction is the equivalent of a nonhomicide crime since it does not require that the defendant kill or intend to kill.

Youth Tried as Adults
Supreme Court of Texas •

We argued that Texas’s waiver of jurisdiction standard violates (1) a juvenile’s right to appellate review, (2) due process by denying certain juvenile offenders the right to an individualized determination of amenability to treatment in juvenile court, and (3) equal protection by arbitrarily depriving certain juvenile offenders of the benefits and protections of the juvenile court.

Access to Counsel
Pennsylvania Supreme Court •

We argued that Section 2313 of the Adoption Act of Pennsylvania unambiguously requires the appointment of client-directed counsel, not a best interests guardian ad litem, to represent a child's legal interests in a contested involuntary termination of parental rights hearing.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)
Washington Supreme Court •

Juvenile Law Center, in collaboration with Teamchild, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Washington in support of Joel Ramos who received an aggregate 85-year sentence for multiple offenses.