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.
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.
We argued that an aggregate 90-year sentence for offenses committed by a juvenile violates Miller because it is the functional equivalent of life without parole and was imposed without consideration of the Miller factors.
Argued that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to give proper weight during transfer or sentencing to the age and related characteristics of a physically and sexually abused 15-year-old who participated in a murder with the adult who was abusing her.
Juvenile Law Center, with National Juvenile Defender Center, filed an amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of a 16-year-old child transferred to adult court under Ohio’s mandatory transfer scheme.
Argued that the automatic exclusion from juvenile court of certain youth charged with murder when combined with the imposition of mandatory sentences is unconstitutional, pursuant to recent Supreme Court rulings in Roper, Graham, and Miller.
Argued that the Oregon Appellate Court's interpretation of the state's juvenile transfer statute was so narrow that virtually all cases for youth aged 12 -14 will qualify for transfer to adult criminal court.
Argued that Kentucky state law and established public policy disfavor adjudicating a minor child delinquent of sexual misconduct and possession and viewing of child pornography when consensual sexual contact and exchange of sexually explicit text messages occurs between two teens who are both below the age of consent.
Argued that Petitioner Bunch's sentence is unconstitutional pursuant to the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Graham v. Florida, which held that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life without parole without a meaningful and realistic opportunity to re-enter society prior to the expiration of their sentences for non-homicide offenses.
Juvenile Law Center was co-counsel in Montgomery v. Louisiana, a case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that Miller v. Alabama (2012) applies retroactively to individuals serving mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences.
These briefs involved a thirteen-year-old student who was questioned by four adults, including a uniformed police officer, on school grounds regarding a series of break-ins. Juvenile Law Center argued that the student should have been considered in custody for Miranda purposes.
Supreme Court held the execution of juveniles unconstitutional. Juvenile Law Center’s brief argued the developmental differences between adolescents and adults in critical areas, including impulse control and understanding consequences.
One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before.