Friday News Roundup: August 31, 2018

Friday News Roundup

California historically puts an end to cash bail, North Carolina passes the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act, and Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center in Brooklyn is recognized for its emphasis on therapy and rehabilitation over punishment as New York’s raise the age law fast approaches. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. 

Criminal Justice News

Trump Announces Six More Judicial Nominees – President Donald Trump on Monday announced the nominations of six more judicial nominees, including one to the Fourth Circuit and one to the Ninth Circuit. Allison Jones Rushing is currently a partner at the Washington D.C. firm Williams and Connolly, where she focuses on complex civil litigation. While at the firm, Rushing worked on several high-profile cases before the Supreme Court, including as a member of the team that in May won a case upholding the legality of individual arbitration clauses in employment agreements. (Courthouse News Service, DC, August 27, 2018)

Using Evidence-based Practices Helps Make Better Decisions, Save Money – Using data to inform and select an evidence-based program for the juvenile justice population goes beyond just looking at data and making a decision. The state Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council, which serves as the state advisory group, and the Division of Criminal Justice’s Office of Adult and Juvenile Justice Assistance pilot [program] results showed communities developed increased capacity to identify their local issues through data, scan the resources already in place so as not to duplicate services and prioritize the issues and the target populations for services to ensure maximum positive community change and impact from the funding. (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, CO, August 29, 2018)

California Becomes First State To End Cash Bail After 40-Year Fight – An overhaul of the state’s bail system has been in the works for years, and became an inevitability earlier this year when a California appellate court declared the state’s cash bail system unconstitutional. The new law goes into effect in October 2019. “Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said in a statement, moments after signing the California Money Bail Reform Act. (NPR, CA, August 28, 2018)

Opioid News

Ketamine, A Promising Depression Treatment, Seems To Act Like An Opioid – A new study suggests that ketamine, an increasingly popular treatment for depression, has something in common with drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone. The small study found evidence that ketamine’s effectiveness with depression, demonstrated in many small studies over the past decade, comes from its interaction with the brain’s opioid system. A Stanford University team reported their findings Wednesday in The American Journal of Psychiatry. “We think ketamine is acting as an opioid,” says Alan Schatzberg, one of the study’s authors and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. “That’s why you’re getting these rapid effects.” (NPR, DC, August 29, 2018)

Drug Treatment Courts

More funding now available for Wisconsin treatment courts and diversion program – More state funding is now available for 50 counties across Wisconsin to fight the opioid crisis. Wisconsin’s Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program (TAD) has expanded to using $6.5 million every year. The program gives counties options for drug offenders such as entering court treatment programs as an alternative to going to jail or prison. (CBS, WI, August 28, 2018)

Ontario gets $1.89M drug court grant – In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, Ontario County will be getting nearly $2 million to expand the work of its drug treatment court. The federal, multi-year grant was recently awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). The grant will be used to increase the drug treatment court’s capacity while aiming to lower recidivism and substance abuse relapses by court graduates. Key to this initiative will be partnerships with longtime local non-profit drug treatment agencies that specialize in recovery support services. (Finger Lakes Times, NY, August 27, 2018)

Juvenile Justice

Convicted of killing his parents as a teen, Jacob Ind, now 40, awaits a retrial. Will it be in juvenile court? – Ind was previously tried in District Court under laws that allowed prosecutors to charge him with murder as an adult. However, changes to the juvenile justice system enacted in 2012 mean that murder suspects less than 16 must be charged as juveniles. The same law requires prosecutors to ask a judge to transfer the case to District Court if they can prove it serves the interests of justice. The judge must consider 16 factors, including the seriousness of the offense, the protection of the community and the maturity of the juvenile. (The Gazette, CO, August 27, 2018)

New York Alternative Facility Emphasizes Rehabilitation For Raise the Age Candidates – “Juveniles should be treated as juveniles. Young people should be treated as young people,” said David Hansell, ACS commissioner, during the tour of the center. “We in New York are on the cusp of one of the most far-reaching and progressive reforms in juvenile justice in decades and that’s raise the age.” The state will now divert young offenders away from prisons and jails where they’ve been sent for decades and to alternative-to-detention facilities like Crossroads. Youth under 18 will now be processed through Family Court rather than the criminal courts, offering them a better chance to turn their life around. (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, NY, August 28, 2018)

Public Defense

From the Field: Los Angeles City Council Takes Key Step Forward on Providing ‘Right to Counsel’ for Tenants Facing Eviction – The Los Angeles City Council took a major step forward on August 17 in creating a “right to counsel” for tenants facing eviction. A motion instructing the city’s housing department to develop recommendations for a new eviction defense ordinance was adopted by a 13-0 vote. This proposal has been backed by a coalition of tenant rights organizations, community groups, and legal service agencies. (National Low Income Housing Coalition, CA, August 27, 2018)

Judge grants class-action status to lawsuit against Louisiana public defender system – A Baton Rouge judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit that aims to upend Louisiana’s creaking public defense system. Judge Todd Hernandez of the 19th Judicial District ruled that every poor defendant in Louisiana represented by a public defender is eligible for participation in the lawsuit, with the exception of juveniles and defendants in capital cases. (The New Orleans Advocate, LO, August 24, 2018)

Veterans Treatment Courts

How the local N.C. delegation to Congress voted last week The House was in recess this week. The Senate passed the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act to require the secretary of veterans affairs to hire additional veterans justice outreach specialists to provide treatment court services to justice-involved veterans. (News & Record, NC, August 26, 2018)