Argued that juvenile adjudications should not be used to enhance adult sentences, since in juvenile court there is no jury, the culture is non-adversarial, defense attorneys are often overburdened and poorly resourced, unreliable evidence is often used, and appellate rights are either nonexistent or underutilized.
Filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of two juveniles who were subjected to excessive and intolerable isolation while in the custody of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC), claiming violations of substantive and procedural due process rights under federal and state law.
Argued that the highly intrusive search of a fifteen-year old public alternative school student, which occurred on school grounds, was unconstitutional, violating her right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
Argued that Section (a)(4) of the Criminal History Records Information Act (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9123(a)(4)) is unconstitutional on its face and as applied to the extent that it permits expungements to be denied solely on the basis of the Commonwealth’s refusal to consent, even in the absence of any evidence proffered by the Commonwealth and when all other statutory criteria are met.
Argued that prosecuting a minor under a strict liability statute and shifting the burden to the minor to prove consent without the opportunity to confront his accuser at the subsequent ‘consent’ hearing under the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act violates the minor’s due process rights.
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.