Deputy Director and Chief Counsel
Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel, co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law. Levick oversees Juvenile Law Center’s litigation and appellate docket. She has successfully litigated challenges to unlawful and harmful laws, policies and practices on behalf of children in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Levick also spearheaded Juvenile Law Center’s litigation arising out of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania juvenile court judges’ corruption scandal, known as the “kids for cash” scandal, where Juvenile Law Center successfully sought the expungement and vacatur of thousands of juveniles’ cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and is pursuing civil damages for the children and their families in a federal civil rights class action.
Levick has authored or co-authored numerous appellate and amicus briefs in state and federal appeals courts throughout the country, including many before the US Supreme Court, and has argued before both state and federal appellate courts in Pennsylvania and numerous other jurisdictions. Levick co-authored the lead child advocates’ amicus briefs in Roper v. Simmons, where the U. S. Supreme Court struck the juvenile death penalty under the Eighth Amendment; Graham v. Florida, where the U. S. Supreme Court struck life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses under the Eighth Amendment; J.D.B. v North Carolina, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time that a juvenile’s age is relevant to the Miranda custody analysis under the Fifth Amendment; and Miller v. Alabama, where the Supreme Court banned mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide offenses. Levick is a frequent speaker and lecturer on children’s rights nationwide, and has also co-authored numerous scholarly articles on children’s rights, including zero tolerance policies, girls in the juvenile justice system, juveniles' right to effective counsel; the emergence of a juvenile Eighth Amendment standard; and the emergence of a ‘reasonable juvenile’ standard in criminal law.
Levick serves on the boards of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana; Southern Poverty Law Center; the Dean's Council, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs; the advisory board of Rutgers-Camden Law School's Juvenile Justice Clinic; and the advisory board of Bureau of National Affairs Criminal Law Reporter. Levick has received numerous awards for her work, including:
Levick is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Law School. Levick is currently an adjunct faculty member at both the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Temple University Beasley School of Law.
Marsha Levick and Robert Schwartz, "Practical Implications of Miller and Jackson: Obtaining Relief in Court and Before the Parole Board," in University of Minnesota Law School's Law and Inequality, Vol. XXXI, No. 2, Summer 2013.
Marsha Levick, "From a Trilogy to a Quadrilogy: Miller v. Alabama Makes It Four in a Row for U.S. Supreme Court Cases That Support Differential Treatment of Youth," Criminal Law Reporter, 91 CrL 748, 09/12/2012.
Marsha Levick, Jessica Feierman, Sharon Messenheimer Kelley, Naomi Sevin Goldstein, “The Eighth Amendment Evolves: Defining Cruel And Unusual Punishment Through The Lens Of Childhood And Adolescence,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Policy, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Spring 2012)
Marsha L. Levick and Elizabeth-Ann Tierney, “The United States Supreme Court Adopts A Reasonable Juvenile Standard In J.D.B. v. North Carolina For Purposes Of The Miranda: Custody Analysis: Can A More Reasoned Justice System For Juveniles Be Far Behind?” Harvard Civil Rights –Civil Liberties Law Review, Vol. 47, No.2 (Spring-Summer 2012)
Marsha Levick, "J.D.B. v. North Carolina: The U.S. Supreme Court Heralds the Emergence of the 'Reasonable Juvenile' in American Criminal Law,"Criminal Law Reporter, 89 CrL 753, 08/24/11.
Robert Schwartz and Marsha Levick, "When a 'right' is not enough: Implementation of the right to counsel in an age of ambivalence," Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 9, Issue 2, 2010.
Marsha Levick, "Kids Really Are Different: Looking Past Graham v. Florida," Criminal Law Reporter, Vol. 87, No. 14, 2010.
Marsha Levick and Kristina Moon, "Prosecuting Sexting as Child Pornography: A Critique," Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 4, Summer 2010.
Jessica Feierman, Marsha Levick, and Ami Mody, "The School to Prison Pipeline ... and Back: Obstacles and Remedies for the Re-Enrollment of Adjudicated Youth," New York School Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2009/10.
Marsha Levick and Robert G. Schwartz, "Changing the Narrative: Convincing Courts to Distinguish Between Misbehavior and Criminal Conduct in School Referral Cases," University of the District of Columbia Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2007.
Marsha Levick and Neha Desai, "Still Waiting: The Elusive Quest to Ensure Juveniles a Constitutional Right to Counsel at All Stages of the Juvenile Court Process," Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, Fall 2007.
Nina W. Chernoff and Marsha Levick, "Beyond the Death Penalty: Implications of Adolescent Development Research for the Prosecution, Defense, and Sanctioning of Youthful Offenders," Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, July 2005.
Marsha Levick and Francine T. Sherman, "When Individual DIfferences Demand Equal Treatment: An Equal Rights Approach to the Special Needs of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System," Wisconsin Women's Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2003.