Legal Docket

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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.

Education
Ohio Supreme Court •

We opposed the State’s argument that the exclusionary rule does not apply to an illegal search conducted by school officials.

Youth Tried as Adults
Washington Supreme Court •

At ages 16 and 17, Treson Roberts and Zyion Houston-Sconiers stole candy and cell phones from teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween. As a result of Washington’s automatic decline statute, they were each transferred to adult court and subjected to adult mandatory minimum sentences without a hearing or individualized determination of the appropriateness of the transfer. Mr. Roberts and Mr. Houston-Sconiers were sentenced to 26 plus years and 31 years respectively. We argued that this statutory scheme violates the procedural due process protections of the U.S. Constitution.

Education
U.S. Supreme Court •

We argued against the criminalization of children's ordinary schoolroom conduct such as "burping, laughing, and leaning into the classroom" and highlighted the devastating cost that such criminalization would have on children's education, health, and life chances.