Friday News Roundup: September 14, 2018

Friday News Roundup

The first veteran graduates from a Florida treatment court, New York addresses the right to counsel in family court, and Missouri’s Senate blocks funding to restore state programs. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. 

Criminal Justice News

The Three Sides of Ohio Issue 1 – Ohio is the only statewide measure on the ballot for the general election this November, and people all over the political spectrum have something to say about it. Aimed at reforming drug and criminal justice policies, it would achieve the following [including] a sentence credits program [that] would be created for inmates’ participation in rehabilitative, work, or educational programs. (Columbus Underground, OH, September 11, 2018)

Drug Treatment Courts

Missouri lawmakers change STEM education and treatment courts billsJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tuesday marked the second day of the special legislative session called by Missouri Governor Mike Parson, and two bills were the center of conversation: STEM education and treatment courts. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield, and sponsor of the treatment court bill, said he is appreciative the governor called the special session. “The governor is wanting to find a solution because he believes and understands the benefits of treatment courts,” he said. (ABC 17/FOX 22, MO, September 11, 2018)

Council passes changes to tribal drug court – Tribal Council passed a proposal to change the section of Cherokee Code that provides for the drug court during its regular session on Thursday, Sept. 6, however, the same services to provide recovery will be provided by the courts. The changes passed by Council are intended to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The name of the drug court was changed to Tsu-Na-Da-Ne-Tsi-Tv-Sdi-Yi or Cherokee Wellness Court. (The Cherokee One Feather, NC, September 7, 2018)

Juvenile Justice

DeKalb County CASA holds informational meeting – The DeKalb County CASA Program is designed to give abused and neglected children in foster care a powerful voice. DeKalb County CASA recognizes the need for individualized advocacy throughout the court process and utilizes dedicated, concerned, well-trained citizen volunteers to protect the child’s best interests. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA, September 10, 2018)

Judges Need to Ask: How Do We Know These Programs We Send People to Work? – “I began to ponder seriously how science and the law can intersect to inform judging and the practice of law. In juvenile court, the court itself must be a therapeutic intervention. As a result of these experiences, I came to understand the absolute necessity of integrating research and evaluation into court policies and practice. The need to search for and implement evidence-based programs.” – Judge Cindy Lederman of the Miami-Dade Juvenile Court (JJIE, FL, September 10, 2018)

Pulaski County plans to track kids’ offense rates – Pulaski County youth advocates will track whether children stay out of trouble after getting entangled in the juvenile justice system — a change they say will offer insight on how to help at-risk kids and spend public dollars more wisely. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, AR, September 11, 2018)

For youthful offenders, incarceration doesn’t always equal accountability – Though one wouldn’t necessarily know it from reading or watching the local news, the overwhelming majority of crimes committed by children are relatively minor, non-violent, offenses. In fact, only about five percent of young people in the juvenile justice system are even accused of committing a violent crime. Despite this low number, these young people are often categorically locked up in youth prison or prosecuted in adult courts and sent to adult jails and prisons regardless of whether or not it is best for public safety, or for them. (The Hill, Washington D.C., September 7, 2018)

Public Defense

Attorney-client communications in jail are supposed to be confidential. They’re not – Efforts to capture conversations between lawyers and their clients demonstrate a stunning lack of respect for the Constitution and the sanctity of attorney-client confidentiality, and the blame lies not just with contractors but with police departments and, especially, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, which has jurisdiction over lockup areas and other courthouse areas in which lawyers meet with their clients. Defendants won’t fully confide in their lawyers if they believe police or prosecutors are listening in. Their inability to speak freely undermines their 6th Amendment right to counsel. (Los Angeles Times, CA, September 11, 2018)

Senate blocks effort to restore funding to several state programs – The House voted to restore funding for juvenile advocacy units in regions around Kansas City and St. Louis. This would have cost $487,000 and brought in nine full-time employees, according to the state Office of Administration list. Kids have the constitutional right to counsel, Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said. (Missourian, MO, September 12, 2018)

Judiciary Panel Set to Kick Off Hearings on Parental Legal Representation – The commission is expected to examine, in part, whether counsel assigned in family law matters are paid enough and whether the balance of funding between the state and municipalities should be adjusted to better serve indigent family members. It will also consider whether current funding levels are enough to assign appropriate caseloads to attorneys assigned as counsel. They will also consider whether the right to counsel for indigent family members should attach earlier and how that would benefit individuals. (The New York Law Journal, NY, September 12, 2018)

Tenants’ right to counsel may be expanded with Levine legislation – “We’re really excited to be introducing a 2.0 legislation that we think will further expand and strengthen what has already been game-changing legislation,” said Levine, who co-sponsored the original Right to Counsel measure with City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson. “It’s pretty clear that people who are unquestionably struggling economically today aren’t eligible for representation because of how low the cut-off is.” (A.M. New York, NY, September 12, 2018)

Veterans Treatment Courts

‘I’m humbled’: First veteran graduates Hernando Co. treatment court program – The court-supervised program was established to treat and assist veterans who have a mental illness or substance abuse issue related to their service and who are facing felony charges in Hernando County. It gives veterans the option to participate in the program and get treatment instead of going through the regular court proceedings. (10 News, FL, September 7, 2018)